Allen Toussaint (born January 14, 1938) is an American musician, songwriter and record producer and one of the most influential figures in New Orleans R&B.
Many of Toussaint's songs have become familiar through versions of other musicians including "Working in the Coalmine", "Ride Your Pony", "Fortune Teller", "Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues"), "Southern Nights", "Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky", "I'll Take a Melody", "Get Out of My Life, Woman", and "Mother-in-law"
Like many musicians of his generation (and those to come) Toussaint drew heavily on the syncopated blues and trill-filled patterns invented in the 1940s by Professor Longhair, aka Henry Roeland Byrd. To this day, most in New Orleans simply refer to him as “Fess”; with musical accuracy and a typically deft turn of a phrase, Toussaint hails him “The Bach of Rock”. When onstage, Toussaint rarely fails to credit his mentor, offering a rendition of “Tipitina,” Fess’s signature tune, mentioning the debt all modern piano professors share.
If Fess is New Orleans’s Bach, Toussaint is its Amadeus: an instrumentalist of uncanny sure-fingeredness and a prodigious inventor of melodies that remain fresh in the ear for years. The parallel is furthered as he also happens to be a master crystallizer of traditional and innovative styles; those classic New Orleans street parade rhythms never sounded more modern than they did after he was done updating them.
Nearly eight years after Katrina, New Orleans continues to recover, and Toussaint has returned permanently to the city he never truly left. Give him the heat and the humidity, the spice and the rice, the funky sound of a Second Line and the cool feel of a southern night. “I apologize,” Toussaint sings, with the hint of a wink, “to anyone who can truly say that he has a found a better way.”
Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club
Detailed schedule information:
First House: 6:30 pm