Allen Toussaint, Remembered by Bob Merlis: ‘A Walking Contradiction, But …

11 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Jazz icon Allen Toussaint dies days ahead of sell-out London show.

NEW ORLEANS — Legendary New Orleans musician Allen Toussaint, who racked up hits like “Working in the Coal Mine” and “Lady Marmalade” as a behind-the-scenes songwriter and producer before he gained fame as a performer, died Tuesday, not long after a performance in Madrid. “He was a legend in the music world,” said Quint Davis, who produces the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

He was due to perform to a sold out concert at the EFG London Jazz Festival at the Barbican Centre on November 15, with the Allen Toussaint Band and Theo Croker.NEW YORK:- R&B legend Allen Toussaint, one of the signature forces in New Orleans music whose songs have been played by a who’s who of rock greats, has died, local television said Tuesday. A statement on the Barbican’s website said: “It is with great sadness that we have been informed that Allen Toussaint unexpectedly died after his concert Fans posted videos of Toussaint’s final performance on YouTube, while the English singer and songwriter Billy Bragg said on Twitter: “The man was a genius.” Toussaint, who began performing in his teens, collaborated with a wide range of artists, including John Mayall, Bonnie Raitt, Elvis Costello, Lee Dorsey, Paul McCartney and The Band.

Rescue workers were called to Toussaint’s hotel early on Tuesday morning and managed to revive him after he suffered a heart attack, Madrid emergency services spokesman Javier Ayuso said. He began learning piano at the age of seven, influenced by the likes of Huey “Piano” Smith and Ray Charles, and got his big break when he was asked to fill in for an absent Fats Domino at a recording session.–AFP In addition to writing a string of hits, including “Southern Nights” and “Fortune Teller”, Toussaint also campaigned and raised funds to help New Orleans recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Toussaint was born in New Orleans’ Gert Town, a working-class neighbourhood of the city, where he lived in a “shotgun” house — so-called because you could stand at the front door and fire a shotgun through to the other side of the house. In 1973, with fellow songwriter Marshall Sehorn, he established his own recording studio and worked with a succession of musicians including Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, Patti LaBelle, Cocker and Elvis Costello.

Allen was one classy man and I will truly miss him!” Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy, said in a statement: “Allen Toussaint was one of music’s most influential figures to hail from New Orleans. … Further solidifying his rich legacy, his songs were recorded by a diverse group of artists such as Jerry Garcia, Ringo Starr, Glen Campbell, Devo, the Band and the Rolling Stones, among others. He said he became deeply involved in playing when he heard New Orleans blues singer and piano player Professor Longhair, and with the radio near the piano, began playing everything he heard. Toussaint died on Monday after being taken to the Madrid hospital Fundacion Jimenez Diaz shortly after his performance on Monday night, officials said.

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