October 17, 1997 12:00 AM

Jazz fans are mourning the loss of Vernel Fournier, 72, a drummer for such top-flight jazz acts as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, who died Saturday after suffering an aneurysm. A New Orleans native, Fournier learned music from a Bourbon Street drummer and as a teen played around the Big Easy, eventually graduating to accompanist to Nancy Wilson and Billy Eckstine. He moved from New York City, where he lived for more than three decades, to Mississippi in 1998.

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