Ronnie Littlejohn is the host of Gumbo Kitchen on JAZZ.FM91.

Art Neville shaped the sound of New Orleans music as the founder of The Meters and The Neville Brothers.

The death of “Poppa Funk” is another huge loss for the city, following the recent deaths of Dr. John and Dave Bartholomew. Neville died Monday at age 81.

Neville was one of the architects of the New Orleans sound that has given me and so many others so much joy. He is music royalty not only in New Orleans, but in the whole world of funk music. His screaming Hammond organ in Lee Dorsey’s Ride Your Pony is as close to heaven as I may ever get.

I recently interviewed Cyril Neville in my tribute to Dr. John. Cyril had phoned me from an airport on a layover en route to South Africa. I asked him how his brother Art was doing. He was thrilled to tell me that recently Art played him a recording he had once played on that Cyril had never heard. Art remembered every detail about the recording session — who played on it, the date it was recorded, the name of the studio.

That’s hard to imagine when you’re talking about someone with as storied a career as Art Neville.