New Orleans jazz man Allen Toussaint talks hurricanes, new album

Toussaint, 71, to play Twin Cities Jazz Festival this summer

Toussaint: Before Katrina? No way. No way. I was in the zone that I had been familiar with since I was a teenager: a studio and at home writing and preparing for the next artist. That's been my life. I had no inkling that I would be out doin' what I'm doin', but I must say it's been quite gratifying to do this. It's another life. It's another world.

Legendary songwriter, producer, and collaborator Allen Toussaint
Michael Wilson
Legendary songwriter, producer, and collaborator Allen Toussaint

Toussaint will headline Friday evening's lineup of this year's Twin Cities Jazz Festival, which runs Thursday through Saturday in downtown St. Paul with events in Mears Park, the Artists' Quarter, the Hat Trick Lounge, and many other local clubs. Many of the performances, including those in Mears Park, are free. Preceding Toussaint on Friday will be local sax great Irv Williams and the Terrence Hughes and Phill Fest Quartet, performing its tribute to the late Brazilian pianist, onetime local resident, and Phill's father, Manfredo Fest. Saturday's Mears Park headliner will be the rapidly rising, phenomenally versatile singer, bassist, and composer Esperanza Spalding. Among those playing before her will be the New Standards and young alto saxophonist Alex Han teamed with Chicago piano stalwart Jon Weber. A complete schedule is at www.twincitiesjazzfestival.com

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