The week of April 20th marked two significant historical events.
- Posted on Sep 8th 2011 12:00PM by Cameron Matthews
Skip Bolen, WireImage
"What a mark he made. In fact what several marks he made," Toussaint told the AP of the celebrated composer and producer. "He was just a magnificent man in every way. He was a superb musician and bandleader. He always inspired the best out of people who were playing with him."
Quezergue was famous for his arrangement of 'Iko Iko' for the Dixie Cups, Professor Longhair's 'Big Chief,' Jean Knight's 'Mr. Big Stuff' and many other New Orleans standards.
"The genius of Wardell was all the arrangements were always in his mind. Now he needed someone to transcribe it onto paper," Gary Ault of the liturgical quintet the Dameans said of Quezergue's recent loss of eyesight. In 2003, his son Brian began transcribing most of his father's pieces.
Quezergue's proudest composition was an arrangement of 'A Creole Mass' written for his replacement in the Korean War, who was killed one week after being deployed. Producer Bubby Valentino remembers the day Wardell finished the piece:
"It took him 50 years to write and rewrite before he thought it was worthy of the promise he had made ... [He] put a sheet of music paper on top of a stack that was 6 inches tall and he said, 'My promise is fulfilled,' and he started weeping."
Quezergue was strongly affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which destroyed his house and collection of musical scores. His wife of 60 years, Yoshi Tamaki Quezergue, died this past May. The composer had five sons and eight daughters.
"From the classic to the most mundane funky music, he was right at home," Toussaint continued. "Just drop him off on Planet Music and he was fine. Anywhere."