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Old Sep 13, 2007, 01:22 PM
John Doheny John Doheny is offline
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Wilson "Willie T" Turbinton

Pianist, organist, singer, arranger, producer Wilson "Willie T" Turbinton passed away here in New Orleans of colon cancer on September 11th. He was 63.

Nationally known for his 1965 hit "Teasin You," Mr. Turbinton was also a highly respected straight-ahead jazz pianist in the Mcoy Tyner style, as amply demonstrated by his 1988 album (with brother Earl Tubinton on saxophones) "Brothers For Life." Mr. Turbinton was also musical director on the seminal 1973 Mardi Gras Indian record "The Wild Magnolias" and recorded (as Willie T and the Souls and Willie T and the Gators) a series of regional hits in the 60s and 70s, including "Thank You John," "Walking Up A One Way Street," "I Peeped Your Hole Card," "Close Your Eyes" (with Wardell Quezerque's big band) "Swivel Your Hips," and "The Funky Funky Twist."

Here's the Times-Picayune obit.
scroll down to comments for a long entry by former Turbinton side-man Steve Allan.
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Old Sep 13, 2007, 02:52 PM
Brian Nation Brian Nation is offline
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Yesterday Doug Ramsey pointed out the "staggering coincidence" of Willie Tee and Joe Zawinul, close friends, dying on the same day, both of cancer. Plus, John, exactly a month ago you posted news of Willie's brother Earl's death on Aug 5.

I'm not enjoying these coincidences.
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Old Sep 14, 2007, 09:53 AM
John Doheny John Doheny is offline
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Man, that's a great pic of Zawinul and Willie T. I wish I'd know about it earlier, I'd have linked to it in my blog. What the hell, it'll probably get more eyeballs on it here.

Here's the link to the Zawinul/Turbinton article.

It's nice that Ramsey talks about the strong connections the Adderley band had with New Orleans. There's lots of people here with fond memories of the Adderley's and co.'s many tenures at various local clubs during the 60s and 70s. Folks like bassist Bill Huntington, saxophonists Harold Battiste and Al Belletto, as well as the late Don Suhor and Alvin Batiste, all jammed and hung out with these folks.

One of his favorite restaurants in New Orleans was Vaucresson, a little place on Bourbon Street that specialized in a kind of Creole soul food, nicely spiced and very rich. It was just down the street from Al Hirt's, in those days a jazz club with a name policy, where the quintet played at least twice a year.
After the gig, or sometimes between sets, Cannon and the band would install themselves at the largest table in the place, inevitably to be joined by fans, friends, family and assorted French Quarter regulars. The enduring image is of Cannonball surrounded by people, simultaneously laughing, expounding, questioning and consuming, inevitably taking time for just one more dish.

"Yes, Mama," he'd tell the proprietress, "I think there's room for the bread pudding."
Vaucressons is, sadly, no more. Neither is Bourbon Street what it once was (if you're coming for a visit, I'd recommend heading straight for the Frenchman street club strip, which is an eclectic mix of clubs featuring straight-ahead and traditional jazz, blues, funk, and latin music, with occasional cajun and zydeco). But the Vaucresson family-made sausage was widely available in supermarkets pre-Katrina, and their food booth was a big favorite at Jazzfest (the jazz festival in New Orleans is the most 'festive' jazz festival in North America, maybe the world, and people come for the food and the hang as much as for the music).

Katrina wiped the Vaucresson's out, but last year at jazzfest they were poised for a comback when some turd stole the family gas-fired sausage griller from in front of Vance Vaucresson's house.

Entreaties were made through the media, and the thief brought it back in time for jazzfest opening day.

Here's an interview with Mr. Vance.

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Old Sep 14, 2007, 01:45 PM
John Doheny John Doheny is offline
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I just glanced at that Vance Vaucresson interview before posting the link, but after doing a closer reading I highly recommend it, especially if you're interested in the intertwining relationships between food, music, and racial/social caste in New Orleans.

It turns out that Vance's father (the owner of the restaurant referenced in the Cannonbal Adderly anecdote) was a very light skinned, blue eyed Creole of Color (his grandparents had been a Russian jew and a French Free Woman of Color) who, although he didn't formally 'passe blanc' was not averse to letting people jump to that conclusion. That's why he got away with running a 'black owned' business on Bourbon Street in the 1960s (Bourbon Street at that time was a somewhat...chilly environment for people of color). The building the restaurant was in (now the annex to Pat O'Brian's bar) was owned by Larry Borenstein, an art gallery owner. Borenstein also was in the habit of staging jazz concerts at his gallery. These were later taken over by a young sousaphone player from Philadelphia named Allan Jaffe, and the gallery was re-named Preservation Hall.
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