Neville Brothers saxophonist Charles Neville dead at 79

A Grammy-winning saxophonist whose Cape Ann concerts benefited local students’ trips to his native New Orleans to help rebuild the city ravaged by Hurricane Katrina has died.

New Orleans-born saxophone player Charles Neville, who once backed up B.B. King and later gained fame with the Neville Brothers band and their rollicking blend of funk, jazz and rhythm and blues, died Thursday, months after he disclosed he was fighting pancreatic cancer. He was 79.

Neville’s career dated to the 1950s when he performed with King and other musical greats. Yet he was best known for three decades of performances with his siblings Aaron, Art and Cyril as the Grammy-winning Neville Brothers band. The band was formed in the 1970s and gained fans with high-energy performances featuring a distinctive fusion of funk, jazz and New Orleans rhythm and blues.

Neville and Gloucester resident Henri Smith with his New Orleans-style band headed a Mardi Gras party in Gloucester for several

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