Headlining the Twin Cities Jazz Festival in June, Allen Toussaint, dapper Renaissance man of New Orleans music, brought a band to town for the first time in memory and regaled a huge, celebratory crowd in St. Paul's Mears Park. Now he's back, band in tow, for a couple of shows in the friendly confines of the Dakota. A brilliant pianist in the grand New Orleans tradition, and always prolific as a songwriter, producer, and arranger, since Hurricane Katrina Toussaint has been at his most active outside the Crescent City in decades. First was the Katrina-spawned collaboration with Elvis Costello, The River in Reverse; then, working with producer Joe Henry, he tackled a collection of vintage jazz and blues nuggets on this spring's The Bright Mississippi. And for back catalog, Toussaint can draw on a veritable treasure trove of iconic New Orleans tunes he wrote for the likes of Irma Thomas, Lee Dorsey, Ernie K-Doe, Al Hirt, Chris Kenner, the Meters, and even himself, highlighted by the lushly evocative "Southern Nights." (photo by Michael Wilson)
Sun., Sept. 27, 7 & 9:30 p.m., 2009
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