Piano Players Rarely Ever Play Together

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Well friends today we heard the sad news that Allen Toussaint has passed. Seems he suffered a heart attack just after coming off stage. I can’t say as it would be what he wanted but having shied away from the limelight for most of his career he’d taken to the road late on and finally got back some of the love he gave. I’m glad to have seen him live a few times, his piano playing was wonderful, his voice more functional than those that usually sang his songs but his warmth came through on stage. Still, it’s for his songwriting and production he’ll be best remembered, an embarrassment of riches voiced by an all star cast of New Orleans musicians. His songs are clean and simple but full of greatness, lyrically, melodically and sonically they have those extra touches of magic that lift them above so much else that was a little generic and make the best of them eternal.

This here is a remarkable film if you care to devote the time to it, featuring three generations of New Orleans Piano players. Tuts Washington is about the least well known and kind of a cantankerous ol’ coot, Fess is a genius, always a joy to hear him play and Toussaint, as ever, the calm gentle guiding prescence. I had the pleasure of attending a screening some twenty odd years ago now at which he gave a short introductory speech and hung around after to shake hands and answer questions. An inspiritaion and an absolute gentleman.

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~ by Mumblin' Earl on November 10, 2015.

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