Allen Toussaint, New Orleans Songwriter and Piano Man

At the 2007 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

Being a child of the 60s and 70s, I’ve seen “Toussaint” on more than a few record covers. And without even knowing it, I’ve heard many songs and recordings that were made possible through his talent. Let’s see: “Working in a Coal Mine,” “Fortune Teller,” “Southern Nights,” Dr. John’s break-through album are just a few.

“Southern Nights”

Allen Toussaint’s prodigious musical output has been covered innumerable times by a wide range of artists–The Rolling Stones, The Who, Glen Campbell, Devo, The Doors. He hones his craft through decades of live performances, session work, songwriting and producing.

“Yes We Can Can” at KUT Austin

Toussaint (January 14, 1938-November 10, 2015) was a devotee of Professor Longhair’s style of piano playing, but he evolved it into his own elegant style. Despite the New Orleans’ “Big Easy” reputation of loose, rollicking music, Toussaint was known for his exacting approach, as related by a fellow musician in a BBC interview.

Toussaint was awarded with the National Medal of Arts by President Obama in 2013.