Art Neville of the Meters and the Neville Brothers Dies at 81 – Variety – Google Alerts

Art Neville, one of the key figures of New Orleans music as a member of the Meters and later the Neville Brothers, died Monday. He was 81.

Neville’s manager, Kent Sorrell, confirmed the death. “It was peaceful,” Sorrell told “He passed away at home with his adoring wife Lorraine by his side. He toured the world how many times, but he always came home to Valence Street.”

The cause of death was not immediately released, but Neville had retired from music last year, suffering from complications from back surgery and other health issues. Although he had performed at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival as recently as 2017 (pictured above), Neville was not able to attend the ceremony last year when the Meters received a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy.

When Neville announced his retirement in December of last year, it was on the 100th birthday of one of his piano-playing heroes, Professor Longhair.

With the keyboard-playing Art as one-fourth of the sibling outfit, the Neville Brothers reached a commercial peak with the 1987 release of “Yellow Moon,” atmospherically produced by Daniel Lanois, which included the Grammy-winning instrumental “Healing Chant.” From their first album in 1978 through their swan song in 2004, the Neville Brothers were a popular fixture among the jam-band rock crowd as well as aficionados of funk, and, along with Dr. John, the popular face of New Orleans music, traditionally closing out Jazzfest every year.

But it was with the group that preceded and eventually followed the Neville Brothers, the Meters, that the musician had his greatest impact. The group, which lasted from 1964-77 (and reunited for selected dates in the 2010s), was considered an essential pioneer of funk and recorded such popular favorites as “Cissy Strut” and  “Fire On The Bayou.”

As a pianist, the New Orleans-born Neville was influenced by such Louisiana progenitors as Professor Longhair. He was still in high…

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