World Renowned Horn Man Charles Neville of the Neville Brothers Dies at 79


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Today, Charles Neville, legendary “Horn Man” for the world famous New Orleans based Neville Brothers passed away peacefully and with dignity at his Huntington, Mass home, surrounded by his family. Over the last year, Mr. Neville had been battling pancreatic cancer. Mr. Neville’s musical history goes back over six decades starting at 15 with his romp with the Rabbit’s Foot Minstrel Show. Charles Neville recorded and toured with a who’s who wide array of great artists including Allen Toussaint, Kris Kenner, Fats Domino and James Booker, Big Joe Turner, Larry Williams, Big Maybelle, Jimmy Reed, BB King, Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, The Grateful Dead, Dr. John, John Hammond, Billy Higgins, Tiny Grimes, Lara Lavi, George Coleman, Jack Bruce , Steve Swallow, Robby Amin, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Giovanni Hidalgo, Herbie Hancock, Archie Shepp, Avery Sharpe, Lou Soloff, John Stubblefield, Carmen Lundy, Michael Doucet, The SongCatchers, The Family Mardi Gras Indian Group,-The Wild Tchoupitoulas, The Rolling Stones and so many others.

Mr. Neville won a Grammy in 1989 for his sublimely beautiful saxophone solo on “Healing Chant” on the Neville Brothers’ Yellow Moon album released on A&M Records produced by Daniel Lanois.

In recent years, Charles Neville has been performing nationally with his brother in the Aaron Neville Quintet. Always prolific, Charles lead his own ensembles including the Charles Neville Quartet and the New England Nevilles that brought a spotlight to his talented youngest sons Khalif and Talyn Neville. Charles always treasured performing with his daughter, international artist Charmaine Neville who is a mainstay in the New Orleans music scene. Over the years, Charles’ own musical projects included his unique group Diversity and the Native American Fusion group The SongCatchers that he founded over 25 years ago with members of the White Eagle Indian Singers and the Lara Lavi Band.

Brother Aaron Neville affirms, “My dear brother Charlie the horn man, just want you to know that if I would’ve had the choice of picking my brothers, I would definitely choose you. You were a great brother. You’ll always be in my heart and soul, like a tattoo. You helped to mold me into who I am today and I’ll always be thankful. I’ll always see your special infectious smile on the stage next to me, it would always give me a smile. I’m happy that we had a long hang together, the ups and downs. It took who we were and where we came from to make us who we are. And you are a great brother Charlie the horn man. I know you have a spot in the heavenly band.”

Adds the oldest Neville Brother, Art Neville “Poppa Funk”, “ He is always in my prayers and he is going to see our little sister Cookie and our Mother and Father.”

Over the years Charles’ music has conveyed his worldly experience from African roots to their expression in the blues, Afro-Cuban sounds, New Orleans second line music-jazz & funk and Mardi Gras Indian chants, soul, West African sacred music and Native American Intertribal singing & drumming. His love and life-long practice of Tai Chai contributed to his gentle spirt and signature snake charmer horn sound.

“My brother Charles was one of the first influences in my life. I had three older brothers who kinda molded me and helped make me the strong woman I am today. He was the one who encouraged me to read and would even suggest the books for me. I love him very much and will mis him but he will always be in my heart.

Charles Neville is survived by his wife Kristin Neville and their two sons Khalif and Talyn Neville, as well his children Charlene White, Charmaine Neville, Charlotte Neville, Carlos Neville, Rowena Alix, Khalif Neville, Talyn Neville, Charlestine Jones, Carlos Neville and Charles Neville his sister Althelgra Neville Gabriel and brothers Art, Aaron and Cyril as well as numerous grandchildren, nieces and nephews that make up the Neville Nation.

But for all the world, the mighty mighty Neville Brothers are considered one of the greatest musical groups to grace the national and international stage and their imprint in American Roots music is core to Charles Neville’s musical legacy.

Says Charles youngest brother Cyril Neville, “ My brother Charles “Horn Man Neville,” is not only a great musician but one of the most amazing human beings that ever lived. He brought love and light everywhere he went. I will miss his physical presence but his spirit will continue to guide me. Rest in power and honor Big Brother.”


Memorial Arrangements are still pending and updates will be posted to this website. At this time, the family requests privacy.

legacy fund

A legacy project has been established to collect and curate stories and materials from Charles’ remarkable life. People are encouraged to send donations to the Charles Neville Legacy Project.


press contact

Lara Lavi, Attorney for the family, 206.551.9847

Kyle Homstead, 413.896.6790