Clarinetist Alvin Batiste, 74, who toured with Ray Charles, recorded with Branford Marsalis, and taught pianist Henry Butler, died at his New Orleans home Sunday, apparently of a heart attack.

He died only hours before he was to perform with Harry Connick Jr. and Marsalis at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, festival officials said.

Marsalis' record label released Mr. Batiste's latest CD, Marsalis Music Honors Alvin Batiste, a few weeks ago. Marsalis also played on the album.

Mr. Batiste was considered one of the founders of the modern jazz scene in New Orleans, his native city. He also wrote for and toured with Billy Cobham and Cannonball Adderley.

A longtime teacher at Southern University in Baton Rouge, he created the Batiste Jazz Institute - one of the first programs of its kind in the nation - and taught jazz at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.

He toured with Charles in 1958 but remained largely unknown to the general population until he recorded with Clarinet Summit in the 1980s.

- AP