Very sad news: New Orleans rhythm & blues legend Allen Toussaint has passed away at age 77. As the BBC reports, Toussaint suffered a heart attack soon after leaving the stage last night at Teatro Lara in Madrid, Spain.
Toussaint was a gifted musician, from recording studios to night clubs to the premier Acura Stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. At Jazz Fest 2010, Toussaint roused the crowd with upbeat numbers, such as “Mother-in-Law” and “Southern Nights.” He then moved his audience deeply with a very touching rendition of Arlo Guthrie’s “City of New Orleans.” One wells up just remembering that spectacular moment.
From venues in the Crescent City to Manhattan, Toussaint’s music was consistently fun and beautiful. His graceful, elegant stage presence made his performances that much more special.
As a singer, pianist, prolific writer of high-quality songs, record producer (including Labelle’s 1974 hit “Lady Marmalade”), and beloved gentleman, Allen Toussaint was a class act. He left too soon. Music fans will miss him enormously.