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

  • HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 23: Actor

    Diego Luna, Mishel Prada Speak Out Against Border Separations at Latino Media Awards

    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 […]

  • LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 22:

    SZA Holds Nothing Back in Second Show Since Vocal Injury Scare

    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 […]

  • Tesse Restaurant Opens on L.A.'s Sunset

    Tesse Restaurant Takes on the Challenge of Making the Sunset Strip Hip Again

    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 […]

  • Tiffany Haddish

    MTV Movie and TV Awards: The 10 Standout Moments

    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 […]

  • Michael B. Jordan

    'Black Panther,' 'Stranger Things' Reign at 2018 MTV Movie and TV Awards (Full List)

    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 […]

  • Brandon Flynn, Timothy Granaderos, Alisha Boe,

    Alisha Boe Says Brock Turner Case Was Her 'Bible' for '13 Reasons Why' Season 2

    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