Allen Toussaint

American Tunes

(Nonesuch)

The late American pianist’s final recording is steeped in the bittersweet joys of New Orleans music. The line-up varies from solo piano to a full band and the repertoire is broad.

A rollicking cover of Fats Waller’s “Viper’s Drag” is an early highlight, Ellington’s dignified “Come Sunday” features spiritual Charles Lloyd sax while “Danza, Op. 33” features a full orchestra.

But it’s the world-wise romantic Toussaint who shines through, whether he’s conjuring the past on “Southern Nights”, capturing the sophistication of Billy Strayhorn’s “Lotus Blossom” or barrelhousing the blues.

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