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We have lost a Titan, legend and kind soul. RestInLove pic. The album features Mr. It also features two of Mr. The album, produced by Joe Henry, a frequent collaborator of Mr. Toussaint over the last decade, was recorded in two sets of sessions, the first in New Orleans in and the second in Los Angeles in October , just a month before Mr. Toussaint died while on tour in Madrid. In an interview this week Mr. Henry said that the album had grown out of longstanding conversations about Mr.

The sessions, Mr. Henry added, proceeded with no indication of any health problems. Henry said. The core members of Allen Toussaint 's band felt like they were part of his family. Two musicians in the late songwriter, pianist and producer's band really are family members -- his son, percussionist Clarence "Reginald" Toussaint, and son-in-law, drummer Herman LeBeaux Jr.

The black Spartacus

Allen Toussaint, the legendary songwriter and pianist, has died. He was The surviving musicians recently gathered at the beloved New Orleans music master's recording studio — still decorated with his art and music memorabilia -- to reminisce. The warmth and professional fulfillment they experienced with Toussaint, onstage and off, dominated the conversation. So much so that he'd write music charts in the studio while the band rehearsed.

I don't know how he could focus enough to write while other music was going on! And then he could comment on the conversation we had while he was writing! Man, he had some kind of brain. For Guerin, touring with Toussaint was like bringing home friends and a wonderful mentor along for the ride. Toussaint specifically, I learned stuff like I was learning from my dad.

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He had that kind of care. It was that kind of family, but a band as well. Lessons learned from the maestro included the "details in everything," the bassist said. He showed me, in a lot of ways, another world. LeBeaux, a classically trained drummer, cited Toussaint's dedication to excellence. His musicians were expected to follow their leader's example. The formal music education LeBeaux received at Xavier University didn't prepare him for Toussaint's funky rhythm and blues.

In the upcoming weeks, Toussaint's band will play a trio of tribute shows to him. First there's a French Quarter Festival concert, 9 p.

Elimination of rivals

Friday April 8 at House of Blues. It's a beautiful thing. Joe Krown will play piano at all three shows. As pleased as Clarence Toussaint is with the guests who'll join the tributes, he's especially happy that all three shows feature the intact Allen Toussaint Band. That nucleus came together in to support Toussaint's surprising post-Hurricane Katrina career as an international touring artist. Before Katrina, Toussaint stayed largely behind the scenes, writing songs, making arrangements and producing. But then a lady named Katrina, he liked to say, became his unexpected booking agent.

His extensive late-career touring began with more than shows with Elvis Costello. Toussaint and his band subsequently played hundreds more concerts -- until that final performance in Madrid. Toussaint's sudden demise shocked New Orleans, the home he dearly loved.

The city's residents loved Toussaint back, delighting in the always elegant musician's frequent public presence.


New Orleanians couldn't imagine the city without him. His family felt the same way. Allen Toussaint's fashion sense: Be sharp. No matter how seemingly incongruous his ensembles, Allen Toussaint made them work, perhaps in part because of the way he carried himself: His easy, graceful manner and self-assured poise made even his more outlandish outfits seem matter-of-fact, true and natural.

But I never saw any point in my life when my dad wouldn't be there. It's wonderful that people saw him in that light, that he would always be here. Toussaint died of a heart attack Tuesday at age Toussaint died of a heart attack Tuesday, Nov. Toussaint's new album, "Songbook" Rounder , was released Sept. He spoke with reporter Marc Myers. Enlarge Image. The house now bears a plaque recognizing its role in music history. For the first 24 years of my life I lived with my parents in Gert Town—a poor section of New Orleans that was rich in spirit. All my young memories are in that dingy-blond 'shotgun' house on College Court.

They called it a shotgun house because you could stand in the front and shoot a shotgun straight through it. That's how small it was.

The Slave Route

The house had a front room, two bedrooms and a kitchen. My older brother, Vincent, and I slept on a Duofold sofa that opened to a bed, and my older sister, Joyce, slept in one of the two bedrooms. Everyone in the neighborhood knew each other. If your mother forgot to leave you the key to the front door, you bothered your neighbors, since everyone's skeleton key worked in all the locks.

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My sister took several lessons but didn't take to it. Her teacher used to hit her hands when she made mistakes. Eventually I started touching the keys and picked out melodies that I had heard on the radio. Soon my sister showed me how the notes on the keyboard corresponded to music on the page, and I started making up songs.

Toussaint in his childhood neighborhood. Our upright wasn't much of a piano—it was a half-step flat the entire time we owned it—but that piano was everything to me. It was dark mahogany, almost black, with rouge crimps all over it. I took about eight piano lessons before my teacher gave up on me. I loved boogie-woogie and hillbilly music and gospel too much.

Everything changed for me when I heard Professor Longhair, a New Orleans blues singer and piano player. I dropped everything, and just played piano and wrote songs.

Africans in America/Part 3/Toussaint L'Ouverture

Fortunately the radio was very close to the piano, so I could turn the dial, listen and play along. I stayed on the piano all the time.


When company would come over, my mother had me come out to play a boogie-woogie. The first song I wrote on that piano was a simple little duet for trombone and trumpet. I was about I've not heard it played to this day. I wouldn't even know where it is at this point. I am very happy to see you head of the armed forces of the colony. We are in a perfect position to do all we want. You have much influence over the inhabitants.