Charles Neville
Charles Neville (Courtesy of robbiesaurus via Flickr)

Charles Neville, saxophonist of the iconic New Orleans funk band Neville Brothers, died Thursday after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 79.

Neville was second-oldest of the four brothers in the band, which he formed in the 1970s with Aaron, Art and Cyril. The Grammy-winning group was renowned for its eclectic mix of funk, jazz and R&B.

Neville also played with numerous music greats during his storied career, including early stints backing James Brown, Ray Charles, B.B. King and fellow New Orleans native Allen Toussaint.

Aaron Neville posted a lengthy tribute to his brother on Facebook.

“I know you have a spot in the heavenly band next to James Booker, James Black, Herbert Hardesty, Fats Domino, Johnny Adams, all the jazz bebop players who you turned me on to,” he wrote. “Dizzy, Charlie Parker, Miles and the list goes on.”

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