Uncle Lionel Batiste, drummer for the Treme Brass Band and an indelible symbol of New Orleans' brass band and musical culture, died this morning at the age of 81, according to the band. Batiste had been in fragile health in recent weeks. He had been a fixture on the New Orleans music scene since the 1940s, and was still playing music until nearly the time of his death.
In 2010, when his beloved drum was stolen after Batiste marched in the Krewe du Vieux parade, it made news. The drum was quietly returned.
In this performance, recorded at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe in March, Batiste performed "Let Me Call You Sweetheart":
Funeral arrangements were not immediately available. But they shall certainly be grand.