02-19-2017  3:20 pm      •     
McMenamins



Quezergue (left) with Clarence 'Gatemouth" Brown
 

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Composer, arranger, bandleader, producer and teacher Wardell Quezergue (kuh-ZEHR), who arranged "Chapel of Love" for the Dixie Cups and was dubbed the "Creole Beethoven" by Allen Toussaint, has died. He was 81.

He died Tuesday of congestive heart failure, said son Brian Quezergue.

"What a mark he made. In fact what several marks he made," Toussaint said Wednesday. "He was just a magnificent man in every way. He was a superb musician and bandleader. He always inspired the best out of people who were playing with him."

Hits arranged by Quezergue include "Iko Iko" for the Dixie Cups, "Big Chief" for Professor Longhair, "Mr. Big Stuff" for Jean Knight and "Groove Me" for King Floyd - the last two recorded the same day in 1961 at Quezergue's Malaco Records in Jackson, Miss.

He also worked with artists as diverse as B.B. King, The Meters, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, and the Dameans - a quintet of New Orleans priests whose folky liturgical songs were popular after the Vatican decided the Mass should be in local languages rather than Latin.

He co-wrote "It Ain't My Fault," a New Orleans brass band standard, and had recently accepted a settlement from Tuff City Records, which reissued the song, which was sampled by pop star Mariah Carey in "Did I Do That" and by rapper Silkk the Shocker.

Quezergue lost his house and his collection of musical scores to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and his sight to diabetes in about 2003.

"The genius of Wardell was all the arrangements were always in his mind. Now he needed someone to transcribe it onto paper," said Gary Ault, who was one of the Dameans and the narrator for Quezergue's most recent composition, a musical setting of the Passion - Christ's crucifixion and resurrection.

The transcriber was usually Brian Quezergue, one of Quezergue's five sons and eight daughters. Quezergue's wife of 60 years, Yoshi Tamaki Quezergue, died in May.

Wardell Quezergue's funeral will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Corpus Christi-Epiphany Church near New Orleans' Treme neighborhood, with a wake Sunday afternoon at Rhodes Funeral Home.

Brian Quezergue said there will be a later memorial service. Ault said that will "really celebrate all the treasures Wardell brought. It will involve all the musicians who knew him and ... celebrate who he really was."

Quezergue left high school in his junior year and joined the Army, and, though a private, was directing an Army band in Japan in 1951, according to the website for "A Creole Mass," which Quezergue completed around the turn of this century.

After his service during the Korean War, he formed two bands, the Royal Dukes Of Rhythm and Wardell and the Sultans.

Quezergue, Clinton Scott and Ulis Gaines formed Nola Records in 1964, and Quezergue arranged one of its first hits - Robert Parker's "Barefootin.'" The company lasted only four years, but Quezergue arranged hit after hit.

Toussaint said he couldn't choose a favorite. "He helped lift the whole scene, you might say, of R&B and rock `n' roll. He lifted the bar for that music," Toussaint said. But, he said, one highlight was the arrangement of "Big Chief."

"He took something that was so Professor Longhair, so rowdy, and married it with some very interesting extreme jazz parts and horn licks in the middle of that, and it sounded like a perfect marriage," Toussaint said.

Quezergue's Creole Mass was produced by hotelier Bubby Valentino, who happened to be present when Quezergue finished it. He said they were both outside a studio where a session being produced by Quezergue was winding up. Quezergue "put a sheet of music paper on top of a stack that was 6 inches tall and he said, `My promise is fulfilled,' and he started weeping."

He told Valentino that he and his unit was heading to the airport and the Korean front when Quezergue was taken from the convoy and told he was needed as an arranger. His replacement was killed during his first week in Korea, and Quezergue vowed to write a thanksgiving Mass, Valentino said.

"It took him 50 years to write and rewrite before he thought it was worthy of the promise he had made," Valentino said.

Shortly before Quezergue's death, he finished recording the Passion, for narrator, instrumentalists, soloists and small chorus. That nearly-finished CD and two before it - "After the Math" and "Music For Children Ages 3 to 103" - were underwritten by The Jazz Foundation, a New York-based foundation created to help jazz and blues musicians, general manager Petr Verner said.

"From the classic to the most mundane funky music, he was right at home," Toussaint said. "Just drop him off on Planet Music and he was fine. Anywhere."

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
    Read More
  • FDR executive order sent 120,000 Japanese immigrants and citizens into camps
    Read More
  • Pruitt's nomination was strongly opposed by environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees
    Read More
load morehold SHIFT key to load allload all
Oregon Lottery
Carpentry Professionals
Calendar

PHOTO GALLERY

Reed College Jobs
His Eye is on the Sparrow