"The Tan Canary" started out singing gospel but was best known for his R&B and soul tunes, such as "Hell Yes I Cheated", "I Won't Cry", "Release Me", and "Reconsider Me"; he recorded nine albums for the Rounder label which established him as one of the finest voices ever in R&B and jazz; his last album, the critically acclaimed "Man Of My Word", was released just a few months before his death; see our Johnny Adams obit page for more.
Samuel Alcorn (died 07/20/98; age 61)
Trumpeter was the son of New Orleans jazz musician Alvin Alcorn; Sammy played at Arnaud's Restaurant, the French Market Cafe, the Famous Door, and other local venues; he worked with Albert "Papa" French, Fats Domino, the Original Hawkettes, Deacon John, Duke Ellington, the Alvin Alcorn Trio, the Imperial Brass Band, Jerry Butler, and June Gardner.
Johnnie Bachemin (died 06/10/98; age 72)
Pianist and entertainer was found stabbed and beaten to death in his Pauger St. apartment; a former dancer, Bachemin performed at clubs and theaters around the world; his TV credits included two appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show"; his trio had played at the Mystick Den in the Royal Sonesta Hotel for the past five years.
Blue Lu Barker (died 05/07/98; age 84)
Blues vocalist born Louise Dupont in New Orleans in 1913; she was the widow of noted New Orleans jazz figure Danny Barker, and was known for her risque novelty tunes, such as "Don't You Feel My Leg".
Blue Lu Barker "Don't You Feel My Leg"
Charlie Bering (died 10/12/98; age 62)
Bering, a native of Houston, moved to New Orleans in 1971; he was co-proprietor of noted local jazz club Lu & Charlie's which was the focal point for contemporary jazz in New Orleans in the 1970's; he booked music for the 1984 World's Fair, and for 20 years, he booked most of the modern jazz acts that appeared at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival; Bering also founded Charlie B's, another jazz venue featuring local and national artists located on Convention Center Blvd.
Joe D'Gerolamo, Jr. (died 06/12/98; age 69)
Kenner native resided in Memphis for past 38 years; D'Gerolamo arranged music for and played trumpet with the big bands of Tex Beneke, Jimmy Dorsey and Charlie Barnet; he also appeared with Frank Sinatra, Nelson Eddy, Elvis Presley, Isaac Hayes, and others; also a member of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.
Louis Charles "Big Daddy" Green (died 05/18/98; age 63)
Musician and Dayton, TX native lived in Lake Charles, LA most of his life; Green played with Cookie and the Cupcakes, Rockin' Sidney and the Alfred Pete group.
Big Chief Donald Harrison, Sr. (died 12/01/98; age 65)
Harrison was Big Chief of the Creole Wild West, Cherokee Braves and White Eagle Mardi Gras Indian tribes before establishing the Guardians of the Flame in 1988; he was also a Mardi Gras Indian ambassador throughout the country and abroad, visiting and often performing at such diverse institutions as Yale University, Native American Pow Wows in the southwest, and at public schools in New Orleans; he recorded with his son, acclaimed saxophonist Donald Harrison, Jr. on the 1992 album "Indian Blues".
Johnson was a member of The Expeditors and The Jericho Blues Band; he also performed with Al "Carnival Time" Johnson and the late great guitar slinger Wayne Bennett.
George Khoury (died 01/08/98; age 89)
Legendary Lake Charles record pioneer was the owner of Khoury's Record Store for more than 50 years; he also founded the Khoury and Lyric record labels, recording Cajun and swamp pop legends such as Nathan Abshire, Jimmy C. Newman, Cookie and the Cupcakes, and Phil Phillips.
Lee Lavergne (died 01/16/98; age 65)
Church Point, LA native was a legendary Cajun and swamp pop producer, and founder of Lanor Records.
Rev. Joseph Anotale Mitchell Jr. (died 12/31/98; age 38)
Minister, musician and lifelong New Orleans resident was a former member of the Gospel Soul Children.
Raymond Myles & the Rams "Jesus is the Baddest Man in Town"
Gloria Cecile Ovalasiti (died 11/07/98; age 73)
New Orleans native was a former singer at the Blue Room at the Roosevelt Hotel under the stage name of Gloria Bellmont .
Earl Peterson, Sr. (died 06/24/98; age 54)
New Orleans native was a former gospel singer with the Christian Brothers Gospel Group.
Stanley Plauche (died 08/08/98; age 64)
Retired New Orleans businessman played saxophone as leader of Stanley Plauche and the Mellow Tones in the 1950's.
Harold Potier, Sr. (died 12/05/98; age 87)
Cornet player from Parks, LA worked with many southwest Louisiana bands including the Banner Orchestra, Black Eagles Band, and Bunk Johnson's band; his father, Hypolite Potier, was also a noted cornet player; his wife (Mercedes Potier), and two of his sons (John Potier and the late Harold Potier, Jr.) were also musicians.
James Prevost (died 07/31/98; age 79)
String bassist performed with several New Orleans artists including Sing Miller, Jim Robinson, Kid Thomas, Roy Brown and Eddie Bo; Prevost also performed and recorded with the Preservation Hall Band from 1970 until the time of his death.
Betty "Big Mama" Rankin (died 02/24/98; age 79)
Jazz preservationist and WWOZ-FM programmer hosted "The Moldy Fig" trad jazz show on Saturday mornings for several years; her son is local guitarist John Rankin.
Umar Uthman Sharif (10/16/98; age 71)
Trumpeter born Emery Humphrey Thompson worked with the Dooky Chase Band, Louis Armstrong, and Lionel Hampton's band in the 1940's; Sharif gave up music for 20 years while he pursued a ministry in the Muslim faith but later performed in the Broadway musical "Black and Blue", and performed with Wynton Marsalis at New York City's Lincoln Center; he was the father of New Orleans trumpeter Jamil Sharif.
As a member of Cosimo Matassa's legendary J&M Studio band, Red Tyler lent his baritone sax to R&B hits by Shirley & Lee, Little Richard, Fats Domino, and many others; a modern jazz musician at heart, Tyler most recently played trad jazz in "The Gentlemen of Jazz", a group led by Germaine Bazzle.
Beth Verrett (died 02/98; age 41)
Ms. Verrett was the former director of the Festival International de Louisiane held in Lafayette; she ran the fest for five years and is credited for turning the annual festival into one of the state's premier events.
Michael Ward (died 03/18/98; age 44)
New Orleans born percussionist recorded with Maceo Parker, Harry Connick, Jr., The Wild Magnolias, ReBirth Brass Band, John Mooney, and many others; Ward also fronted his own band, The Reward.
Phil Anthony Zito (died 08/02/98; age 84)
Noted trad jazz drummer and band leader co-founded the Original Dixieland Jazz Band Foundation with Nick LaRocca (of ODJB fame); Phil Zito's New Orleans International City Dixielanders featured the then "youngsters" Pete Fountain and George Girard, who later went on to form the Basin Street Six in the early 50's.