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4.6 out of 5 stars
The Bright Mississippi
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 2010
I saw Toussaint at the Roundhouse a few years ago and was dissapointed. Here was a fantastic piano player and composer of some classic New Orleans songs wheeling out the cheese trolley. His piano playing was great and the sax player was good but he had a completely dull and uninspiring bassist and drummer who stuck to flat rock rhythmns, whilst the 70's songs were entirely forgettable.

Spotting this album in HMV I was intrigued and nervously started listening to the samples, soon I had a big silly grin on my face and it was the quickest and most assured purchase I think I've ever made.

The tracks are mostly instrumental jazz covers, some of which are linked to New Orleans, which allow Toussaint's piano playing to shine. There are tracks by Monk, Ellington, Bechet and Armstrong. The album is all acoustic and features younger players such as Marc Ribot on acoustic guitar and Don Byron on clarinet. The album is kept interesting by using different combinations of players on different tracks. I particularly like the opener Eygptian fantasy and Bright Mississipi which are more upbeat - although overall the album is quite laid back. My only real complaint is there is one vocal track which seems a bit out of place. This is a minor complaint and I would highly recommend this album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 October 2009
This is quite simply one of the best albums we'll hear in 2009 and on an album where every track is a gem, the two Ellington tracks, "Day Dream" and "Solitude," stand out, both perfectly capturing the air of melancholy that is distinctive to the Duke. Monk's "Bright Mississippi" also deserves special mention. The title track is more upbeat than Monk intended, with Bellerose pushing it along and Toussaint using it as a showcase for his buoyant piano style. It is difficult to image anything matching the class and the charm of The Bright Mississippi.
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on 16 October 2011
Allen Toussiant began as half of a duo called Allen & Allen-the other guy was Allen Orange but ironically had his first success while he was out of the business and in the Army.This is when a couple of his instrumentals-Java and Whipped Cream (made as the Stokes) charted for Floyd Cramer and Herb Alpert.Both were on his first album made as Al Toussan.
As a man who'd change his name often earlier songs like Fortune Teller (as written by his alter ego Naomi Neville)and various ones by Ernie K-Doe scored mainly via covers)
Out of the Army his career began to rise as he began to use his real name for a series of hits by Lee Dorsey and Betty Harris
In the 70s he was involved with Paul McCartney & Wings' Venus & Mars.
In fact there was so much stuff with an Allen Toussaint connection that you'd never remember all of them but there was an album called Rhythm'n'Country & Blues in which a number of soul stars collaborated with country stars including Chet Atkins and Allen Toussaint who did his own version of the Glen Cmpbell hit Southern Nights
Today he's more famous for his collaborations with Elvis Costello and as a spokesmen for post Katrina New Orleans
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2009
One of the real cornerstones of popular music over the past 50 years, it's great to hear Allen play an album of songs that demonstrate his superb piano playing. Rather than try to be a vocalist (as with previous AT albums) he lets his finger do the talking to great effect. For someone who has either composed or produced so many classic r&b or rock music it's warming to hear this jazz based, laid back set of classic songs in a relaxed and cool environment. All in all a terific album from the most dignified and classy, southern gentleman that's ever been in the music business.
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on 14 April 2013
When I heard this version of St James Infirmary immediately decided that had to search for it and check the other tracks in whatever album I would find. No other track feels diminished to it and what it comes out is such a wonderful album that fills the air with enough pleasure to just sit back and relax, enjoy, the moment.
Regrettably Allen Toussaint did not make much more of this kind of music throughout his career, but this one sure compensates for it, and one can only imagine what would've been if he'd pursued more of this style.
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on 27 April 2015
I bought this album after hearing his version of St James Infirmary and I wasn't disappointed. Apparently this is his first 'jazz' album - jazz presumably in the 'mostly instrumental' definition - but it does actually includes one vocal track. The piano playing (as you would expect) and general feel of these musicians through-out makes for a brilliant and hugely enjoyable album. Really a very consistent and strong set. Buy.
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on 20 June 2012
This cd is out on permanent loan . It's the best thing I've heard for a while, and I'm listening all the time.
Perfect New Orleans based piano led jazz and blues covering some well known standards .Subtle and warm as a Gulf Coast breeze ,slices of beautiful Armstrongesque trumpet, you can almost smell the Jasmine!The man's a genius.
Highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 24 May 2009
Great album, grew on me after a couple of listens. A mix between a circus and a Mardi Gras but so smooth! After only having listened to Mr Toussaint's stuff from the 70's this was a really nice surprise in a very different slant and was not at all what I'd expected.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 2009
Even though I've been a fan of Toussaint's work for decades, this last album represented a pleasant surprise with
its blend of traditional New Orleans music and Toussaint's distinct piano touch. Excellent listening. Top musicians!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 October 2010
An impossible question to answer, but it's my favourite. From first to last, every song is a classic. The drum sound is notable throughout, creating a style I could only describe as...street New Orleans (listen to Egyptian Fantasy & you'll be with Mickey Rourke in Angel Heart, scary!). The percussion is also outstanding, notably on St Jame's Infirmary. I love the clarinet, a rarely heard instrument, although the saxophone makes a late & lone, but spectacular appearance. Highlight? Possibly the piano duet on Winin' Boy Blues. But I suspect over the years I'll be playing this soon-to-be-acknowledged classic my favourite will change as rapidly as the rhythms created by Toussaint. Carlsburg would agree that this is the best jazz album of all time. Probably.
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