A wealth of great talent has emerged from New Orleans over the years, but not many artists from the last 50 years can match Allen Toussaint’s contributions. The gifted pianist quickly rose from teenage work with early rock and R&B icons Fats Domino and Earl King to become the region’s most successful songwriter and producer.
Penning smashes and overseeing recordings for everyone from ’60s soul icons Irma Thomas and Lee Dorsey to ’70s funk giants the Meters, Dr. John, and LaBelle, Toussaint helped shape the sound of southern R&B while scoring a few solo hits. In addition to providing horn arrangements and studio guidance for rock and blues artists like Paul McCartney, The Band, Paul Simon, Etta James and Albert King, Toussaint’s songs have provided hitmaking material for numerous artists: The Who, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Palmer, Boz Scaggs, Glen Campbell and Devo all scored chart success with his tunes.
In the last few years, Toussaint has returned to the spotlight both as an outspoken activist for hurricane-damaged New Orleans and as a musician with solo recordings, retrospective collections and the acclaimed 2006 collaboration with Elvis Costello that focused on the Katrina tragedy, The River in Reverse. His most recent effort, The Bright Mississippi in 2009, explored the work of his New Orleans forebears and includes songs by Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet and Jelly Roll Morton. This summer, the songwriter was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Obama. For this solo SFJAZZ concert, Toussaint delivers an overview of his classic songs.
Allen Toussaint Saturday, Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m. $25-$65 SFJAZZ Center Miner Auditorium