The day Batiste died, the folks at the WWOZ-FM Jazzfest tent asked me to drop in and say a few on-air words about him. I wondered aloud if Batiste's passing would compel anyone to consider the value of music education: In post-Katrina New Orleans, with communities hanging in limbo and a school system in shambles, it's important to remember what gave rise to all this music.
At Batiste's funeral, saxophonist Kidd Jordan turned to the casket of his close friend and played "For 'Trane," a tune Jordan composed the morning Batiste called to let him know Coltrane had died. Jordan told me that he'll carry a bit of Batiste with him when he comes to New York to play at the Vision Festival later this month. "Alvin would always be changing his methodology, challenging himself to grow," he said. "That's what we do."