Remembering Charles Neville

December 28, 1938 – April 26, 2018

“A tribute to one of the Neville Brothers”

Charles Neville (December 28, 1938 – April 26, 2018) was a saxophonist whose greatest fame came as one of the key members of the Neville Brothers.

The second-oldest of the four brothers (Art, Aaron and Cyril), Charles Neville was born and raised in New Orleans.

Early on, Neville accompanied such top artists as B.B. King, Johnny Ace and Jimmy Reed, touring with the stars.

After serving in the Navy in 1956, he worked with Larry Williams but drug problems (which plagued him until 1986) resulted in a prison sentence and an erratic life.

A period spent in New York freelancing preceded him joining his siblings for the 1976 album The Wild Tchoupitoulas which launched the Neville Brothers.

The group, which combined together New Orleans r&b, funk and soul, became hugely popular and influential with Charles Neville’s saxophone solos being an important part of the ensemble’s sound.

After the Neville Brothers ended in 2012, Charles Neville played with Aaron Neville’s band, moved to Massachusetts, and worked locally until his death from pancreatic cancer at the age of 79.

He is survived by his daughter singer Charmaine Neville and his son pianist Khalif Neville.

Here is Charles Neville with the Neville Brothers performing “Yellow Moon.”

Note: In the last year of his life, Charles Neville was a financial contributor to Jazz on the Tube. That’s the kind of guy he was.

American Routes did an excellent extended interview with Charles Neville here. Originally aired May 9. 2018:

-Scott Yanow