His musical training began at the Louisiana State School for the Blind, where he learned to play valve trombone, baritone horn and drums before focusing his talents on singing and piano. Butler was mentored at Southern University, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, by clarinetist and educator Alvin Batiste. Butler later earned a master's degree in music at Michigan State University in 1974, and received the MSU Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009. In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated Butler's home in the Gentilly section of New Orleans. His 1925 vintage Mason & Hamlin piano was wrecked by flood waters that rose to nearly eight feet inside his house. In the wake of Katrina's damage, Butler left New Orleans and briefly relocated to Colorado, living first in Boulder and then Denver.
He later spoke of that Colorado period as "a trying exile." In 2009, Butler relocated again to New York City. Butler pursued photography as a hobby since 1984, as an outgrowth of attending art exhibits in Los Angeles and asking friends to describe featured works. His methods and photos were featured in an HBO2 documentary, Dark Light: The Art of Blind Photographers, that aired in 2010. Butler's photographs were also shown in galleries in New Orleans. Butler died of end-stage cancer in New York City on July 2, 2018 at the age of 68. Discography Fivin' Around (1986) The Village (1988) Orleans Inspiration (1990) Blues & More (1992) For All Seasons (1996) Blues After Sunset (1998) The Game Has Just Begun (2002) Homeland (2004) PiaNOLA Live (2008) With James Carter In Carterian Fashion (Atlantic, 1998) With Corey Harris Vu-Du Menz (Alligator Records, 2000) With Steven Bernstein Viper's Drag (2014), Impulse Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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