Jazz Musician Warren Batiste Visits Mr. Gurry's Class at JMFA

This week, Mr. Gurry’s history class was visited by guest speaker, Jazz Musician, Warren Batiste. He was the first guitarist to play with Fats Domino on a regular basis, and went on to play with Illinois Jacquet, in New York.  He was taught music at Wequachie High School,  Essex County College, and the Newark Art Center in Newark, New Jersey.  In 2000, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Jazz from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Mr. Warren shared what it was like as a child in a culturally diverse and ethnically integrated neighborhood, learning how to play guitar from his father, experiencing segregated schools, raising a family of ten children, and a successful marriage of sixty-eight years.  His personal narrative also included overcoming racism in the early years of television and the entertainment industry, playing alongside other famous Jazz legends, and working a day job at General Motors to pay the bills.  He spoke of his experience during the Newark Race riots, during the late sixties, when he moved up to the New York where he was playing at Harlem clubs in the evening.

Overall a wonderful living experience during Black History Month.