PopImpressKA Journal for Charles Neville - The Neville Brothers, exclusive Interview about his amazing life and remembering their performance with Grateful Dead.
GRAMMY AWARD WINNING
WITH A MUSIC LEGEND
GRAMMY AWARD WINNING
Above from left: Olga Papkovitch/CEO & Founder of PopImpressKA Journal
Aubrey Earnest, Charles Neville's Son, Ashley Earnest and front
Below: Aubrey Earnest, AARON NEVILLE, Ashley Earnest and
Olga Papkovitch/CEO & Founder of PopImpressKA Journal
WITH A MUSIC LEGEND
Charles Neville, Musical Legend
They Call Him “The Horn Man”
Back in the day, before the voice of a marginal singer could be synthesized and technology could tweak instrumentals, precision recordings and performances were harder to come by.
While the mechanics of sound have altered the music industry over the years, the soulful songs of the Neville Brothers are enduring, bringing unparalleled rhythm & blues, funk and jazz to new generations of listeners.
The four brothers, considered R & B royalty, were surrounded by music from birth. Known as the “musician’s musicians,” the talented brothers were often asked to perform for the weddings and celebrations of musical greats. Charles Neville, accompanied by his saxophone, emerged from this family of virtuosos.
Growing up in a musical household, Charles Neville, born in 1938 in New Orleans, was already fluent on the saxophone before the age of twelve.
He joined his school band and played local venues. At the age of fifteen, he quit school and performed on the road for a brief period before returning to New Orleans in the 1950s.
Upon his return, he joined the house band of the Dew Drop Inn in addition to supporting the sounds of James Booker, B.B. King and Ray Charles, to name a few.
After a two-year tour in the Navy, Charles returned to New Orleans and found himself surrounded by music and unfortunately, the drug culture that was prevalent at the time.
He received a sentence of five years for possession of marijuana and was sentenced to the dreaded Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as “Angola” and “The Farm.” Not surprisingly, he used his talents to teach music to inmates in the prison.
He was released after three and a half years for good behavior. Charles then moved to New York and was later joined by brothers Aaron and Cyril.
One of Charles’ uncles, George Landry, also known as Big Chief Jolly, passed down the New Orleans Indian culture to his extended family. Landry, along with this verbal and musical history, had a large influence on his nephews.
Under his mentorship, the first musical collaboration of all four of the brothers began as they contributed their unique sound, along with other artists, to “The Wild Tchoupitoulas” album in 1976.
The Neville Brothers band was born one year after the release of “The Wild Tchoupitoulas”. The group enjoyed popularity locally in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana. However, The Neville Brothers were better known internationally than in the United States until the release of the Yellow Moon CD in 1989.
While The Neville Brothers’ appearances became Charles’s main musical activity during the next three decades, he pursued a wide variety of other musical interests. Charles formed the band Diversity in 1990.
Together with the lead harpist from the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra, the group combined the sounds of jazz and classical music. The string instruments joined with a jazz rhythm section led to the release of the Diversity CD in 1991 and Safe in Buddha’s Palm, released in 2001. Safe in Buddha’s Palm was influenced by the eastern philosophy Charles has embraced over the years.
The Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance in 1989 went to the Neville Brothers for the song Healing Chant, written by Charles and released on the Yellow Moon CD. The song is a resounding tribute to the musicianship of Charles Neville.
For more information regarding Charles Neville, please visit: www.charlesnevillesite.com