Art Neville has Died.

I saw the Neville Brothers play a few years ago. Okay, maybe in 2008. They were great, but what impressed me was that they said this was their 30th year. I saw them in 1978 at the Bottom Line in New York, opening for the Wild Tchoupitoulas. At the time the Nevilles seemed timeless, and the Tchoupitoulas even more so. But while Art was a seasoned veteran with the Meters and countless sessions, the Brothers had only stepped out on their own that year, backing up Big Chief Landry. It was a great show, maybe the best live show I’ve ever seen, in part because it was impossible not to dance and while the Bottom Line crew tried to enforce the city’s no-dancing rule, everyone knew that was hopeless on this night. The Nevilles and the Meters before them played with everyone. Part of the magic of New Orleans is how this music helped create ska and reggae, and how the jazz of Louie Armstrong and the amazing Professor Longhair led to a culture of breadth and rhythm. So, choosing a song is impossible, but rest in peace Art. I saw you plenty, felt I knew you, but that was an illusion.

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