Allen Toussaint helped shape the sound of R&B, soul, and funk as we know it today. Tonight, this music legend performs songs from his latest release, The Bright Mississippi, which critics are already hailing as one of the best CDs of 2009.
New Orleans native and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Toussaint has a body of work stretching back to the early 60s. As a composer, Toussaint’s hits include “Southern Nights” (Glen Campbell), “Working On a Coal Mine” (Lee Dorsey, Devo), “Fortune Teller” (Jessie Hill, Benny Spellman, the Rolling Stones, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss) and many, many more. As a producer, Toussaint has helmed hits for LaBelle (“Lady Marmalade”), Dr. John (“Right Place, Wrong Time”), Chris Kenner (“Land of 1000 Dances”), Jessie Hill (“Ooh Poo Pah Doo”), as well as working with Paul McCartney on Venus & Mars and the Meters on their popular 70s albums.
In addition to all this, Toussaint has maintained a solo career, moving from the 1958 instrumental album The Wild Sound of New Orleans through the singer/songwriter-oriented records Toussaint (1971), Life, Love and Faith (1972) and Southern Nights (1975), to his 90s comeback Connected, The River in Reverse, his 2006 collaboration with Elvis Costello, and his brand-new jazz album The Bright Mississippi. On this release, Toussaint reinterprets the songs of the jazz greats who, in the early 20th century, built the genre from the ground up. Rolling Stone wrote the CD is “both pure Ellington (‘Day Dream’) and Monk (‘Bright Mississippi’), as well as pure Toussaint, emotionally and structurally expansive, yet as keenly done as one of Toussaint’s perfectly knotted ties.”