You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

New Orleans jazz musician Bob French Sr. dies

French was the oftentimes outspoken DJ at WWOZ-FM.

New Orleans jazz band leader and drummer “Bob” French Sr. died Nov. 12 after a long

illness. He was 74 and had been aflicted with dementia and diabetes-related complications.

French was the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band drummer and band leader and an oftentimes outspoken DJ at WWOZ-FM. He last performed with the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band in 2011.

French grew up immersed in the traditional sounds of New Orleans. His father, banjo player Albert “Papa” French, took over the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band in the 1950s following the death of Oscar “Papa” Celestin, who founded the group in 1910. As a young man, French rejected his father’s music in favor of rhythm and blues. His first gig in 1954 included Art and Charles Neville and piano wizard James Booker.

After his retirement in 2011, his nephew Gerald took over the drum chair and leadership of the band

Following Hurricane Katrina, French used his position at WWOZ as a bully pulpit to berate elected

officials he believed let the city down.

Survivors include two brothers, George and Albert French; and four children.

More Scene

  • AMAs Afterparty at Watt's with Niall

    Niall Horan, Chainsmokers, Rae Sremmurd Bring the AMAs After-Party to Beverly Hills

    New Orleans jazz band leader and drummer “Bob” French Sr. died Nov. 12 after a long illness. He was 74 and had been aflicted with dementia and diabetes-related complications. French was the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band drummer and band leader and an oftentimes outspoken DJ at WWOZ-FM. He last performed with the Original Tuxedo Jazz […]

  • HBO Presents-Night of Too Many Stars

    Jon Stewart, Other A-List Comics Skip Over Louis C.K. at 'Night of Too Many Stars'

    New Orleans jazz band leader and drummer “Bob” French Sr. died Nov. 12 after a long illness. He was 74 and had been aflicted with dementia and diabetes-related complications. French was the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band drummer and band leader and an oftentimes outspoken DJ at WWOZ-FM. He last performed with the Original Tuxedo Jazz […]

  • Variety Hitmakers Brunch

    Kendrick Lamar, DJ Khaled, Hailee Steinfeld Honored at Inaugural Variety Hitmakers Event

    New Orleans jazz band leader and drummer “Bob” French Sr. died Nov. 12 after a long illness. He was 74 and had been aflicted with dementia and diabetes-related complications. French was the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band drummer and band leader and an oftentimes outspoken DJ at WWOZ-FM. He last performed with the Original Tuxedo Jazz […]

  • The 'Runaways' Praise Series' Diversity at

    'Marvel's Runaways' Stars Praise Series' Diversity at Hulu Premiere

    New Orleans jazz band leader and drummer “Bob” French Sr. died Nov. 12 after a long illness. He was 74 and had been aflicted with dementia and diabetes-related complications. French was the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band drummer and band leader and an oftentimes outspoken DJ at WWOZ-FM. He last performed with the Original Tuxedo Jazz […]

  • 'The Shape of Water' film premiere

    Guillermo del Toro Calls 'The Shape of Water' a New Type of 'Beauty and the Beast'

    New Orleans jazz band leader and drummer “Bob” French Sr. died Nov. 12 after a long illness. He was 74 and had been aflicted with dementia and diabetes-related complications. French was the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band drummer and band leader and an oftentimes outspoken DJ at WWOZ-FM. He last performed with the Original Tuxedo Jazz […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content