Professional composer, arranger, performer and teacher, a native of New Orleans and graduate of Dillard University. Joined Ellis Marsalis in 1989 on the Jazz Studies faculty at the University of New Orleans after 30 years in Los Angeles.
He has been active as a publisher, producer, conductor and musical director for studio, stage, motion pictures and television with credits in jazz, classical, blues and pop.
He co-produced and arranged the career-launching recordings of Sam Cooke (You Send Me), Sonny and Cher (I Got You Babe), Joe Jones (You Talk Too Much), Barbara George (I Know) and Lee Dorsey (Ya Ya). Battiste produced the first albums (Gris Gris, Babylon and Gumbo) introducing New Orleans artist Mac Rebennack as Dr. John.
Musical Director to the ‘Sonny & Cher Show’ on CBS from 1976 to 1977. Also, Touring Musical Director for Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis in 1977.
He initiated the first African-American musician-owned record label (All For One) and publishing company (At Last Pub. Co.). On this label, Battiste recorded the first contemporary jazz artist in New Orleans including clarinetist Alvin Batiste, drummers
Ed Blackwell and James Black, saxophonists Nat Perrilliat and Alvin “Red” Tyler, and pianist Ellis Marsalis.
In addition to private tutoring of professionals in film and television scoring and conducting, Battiste has been a lecturer and clinician at the:
- University of California at Los Angeles
- University of California at Santa Barbara
- University of Southern California
- CaliforniaState Northridge
- California State Dominguez Hills
- Southern University at Baton Rouge and New Orleans
- Mozartium Musischul, Innsbruck, Austria
- Le Torri Montanare, Lancano, Italy
Harold Battiste has served on the:
- Louisiana State Music Commission
- New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation School of Music (Founding Board)
- Louisiana Jazz Federation (past President)
- Black Music Hall of Fame (Executive Board)
- African Cultural Endowment (President)
- Congo Square Cultural Collective
- He serves on the New Orleans Jazz Park Commission appointed by the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service. Also serves on the WWOZ Community Advisory Board
- Recipient of the Big Easy Entertainment Lifetime Achievement Award, April 19, 2004
- Received the Off Beat music industry magazine’s 1st ‘Heartbeat’ Award for Lifetime Achievement in Music Jan. 25, 2002
- Received the Pathfinder Award presented by the Contemporary Arts Center in recognition for the ‘All for One Legacy’ January 28, 2001
- Presented with a Certificate of Appreciation for contributions to Music Education by the International Association of Jazz Educators, December 15, 2000
- Arts in Education presented by the board for contributions to Music Education, May 2, 2000
- Received the Sidney Bechet Award from the New Orleans International Music Colloquium for Innovation in New Orleans Music, April 14, 1999
- The Council of the City of New Orleans issued a Proclamation of Birthday Wishes on October 28, 1998
- Mayor Marc Morial issued a Certificate of Appreciation on October 24, 1998
- October 24, 1998 The Eighth Floor Foundation (Dr. Norman Francis) placed a ‘Harold Battiste’ plaque in their Walk Of Fame on Napoleon Avenue
- Mayor Marc Morial issued a Proclamation that October 16, 1998 be known in New Orleans as Harold Battiste Day
- The New Orleans City Council issued a Proclamation of Recognition for the ‘All For One’ exhibition at the National Black Music Hall of Fame on October 16, 1998
- African Heritage Studies Association Certificate of Recognition (1998)
- American Federation on Musicians Certificate of Meritorious Service (1998)
- New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival’s ‘New Orleans Jazz Legends’ (1998)
- Mayor Marc Morial issued a Certificate of Appreciation on August 16, 1997
- Amistad Research Center’s Arts Award (1996)
- Mayor Marc Morial issued a Certificate of Merit on November 7, 1996
- Young Leadership Council’s Role Model Award (1996)
- Mayor Marc Morial issued a Proclamation that June 26, 1996 be known in New Orleans as Harold Battiste Day
- Inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society (1996)
- Governor’s Arts Lifetime Achievement Award (1995)
- Mayor’s Arts Award (1993)
- Beau Arts Award (1993)
- Louisiana Jazz Federation’s Jazz Town Award (1992)
- Winner’s Circle Eye On Music Award (1991)
- Six (6) Gold Records
The Various Phases of Harold Battiste’s Career:
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- You Send Me – Sam Cooke
This was Sam’s crossover hit from gospel to pop. This was also Harold’s first studio arrangement.
- I’m Falling In Love – Sam Cooke
Falling in Love is an Battiste composition featured in the Sam Cooke documentary “Keep Movin’ On.”
- I Know – Barbara George
AFO’s second release featured 19-year-old Barbara George’s first outing. Her record went Gold.
- She Put the Hurt On Me – AFO’S second version
Recorded in 1961, Prince La La was the first artist on AFO Records and this was his “hit.”
- Ya Ya – Lee Dorsey
Lee Dorsey’s first “hit” produced by Battiste in 1961.
These are four of the “hits” by Sonny and Cher with Harold Battiste as their music director, arranger and co-producer.
- Gris Gris – Dr. John
Title track from the 1967 unmasking of “Dr. John, the Night Tripper.” Produced and arranged by Harold Battiste for ATCO Records.
These two tunes, though written many years ago, were recorded in 1995 by the Jazz students of University of New Orleans under the direction of Harold Battiste (“The Next Generation”).