Allen Toussaint: Long, Long Journey

Track

Long, Long Journey

Artist

Allen Toussaint (piano, vocals)

CD

The Bright Mississippi (Nonesuch 480380)

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Musicians:

Allen Toussaint (piano, vocals), Nicholas Payton (trumpet), Marc Ribot (guitar), Jay Bellerose (drums, percussion), David Piltch (bass), Don Byron (clarinet).

Composed by Leonard Feather

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Recorded: New York, March 19-22, 2008

Albumcoverallentoussaintthebrightmissisippi

Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

If you glance at the track details, you might puzzle over this concoction. A New Orleans theme album, but named after Mississippi, featuring Don Byron and Marc Ribot and Nicholas Payton, covering a blues written by Leonard Feather in a studio in New York. Sounds contrived, huh? But the end result is as spontaneous and unforced as the flashes those gals exchange for beads on Bourbon Street at Mardi Gras time. Despite the all-star cast, Allen Toussaint is the key factor here, standing out through his persuasive pianism and conversational singing. Louis Armstrong provides the New Orleans link to this song, which he recorded back in the day, but Toussaint takes it slower and with darker overtones. The glory years of New Orleans jazz were just a dim memory by the time Toussaint showed up on the scene in the 1960s, but you would never guess it from this convincing return-to-the-roots performance.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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