This fundamental quartet, Art Neville (keyboards), Leo Nocentelli (guitar), George Porter Jnr. (bass) and Joseph 'Zigaboo/Ziggy' Modeliste (drums), came together during informal sessions held in various New Orleans nightclubs. Initially known as Art Neville And The Neville Sounds, they were spotted by producers Allen Toussaint and Marshall Sehorn, who signed the unit to their Sansu label to work on sessions for the duo's other artists, including Lee Dorsey and Betty Harris. Redubbed the Meters, the group's first singles, 'Sophisticated Cissy' and 'Cissy Strut', reached the US R&B Top 10 in 1969. These tough instrumentals mixed the bare-boned approach of Booker T. And The MGs with the emergent funk of Sly And The Family Stone, a style consolidated on several further releases and the unit's three albums for the Josie label. This canvas was broadened on a move to Warner Brothers Records in 1972, where a series of critically acclaimed albums, including Cabbage Alley and Rejuvenation, reinforced their distinctive, sinewy rhythms. Such expertise was also heard on many sessions, including those for Robert Palmer, Dr. John and Paul McCartney, while in 1975, the band supported the Rolling Stones on their North American tour. Cyril Neville (vocals/percussion) was added to the line-up at this time, but the Meters found it difficult to make further commercial progress. In 1976, Art and Cyril joined Charles and Aaron Neville on a project entitled the Wild Tchoupitoulas. Led by an uncle, George Landry (Big Chief Jolly), this was the first time the brothers had played together. When the Meters split the following year, the quartet embarked on a new career, firstly as the Neville Family Band, then as the Neville Brothers.
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