The quintessential New Orleans pianist, Allen Toussaint helped define the Crescent City's unique brand of R&B while creating its swampy Funk sound. He began his career in the late 1950s when he sat in for Fats Domino in a recording session; the following decade saw him write and arrange countless hits for other artists. Al Hirt, Herb Alpert, Irma Thomas, Lee Dorsey, the Meters, the Neville Brothers, the Pointers Sisters and Glen Campbell are indebted for his work as a songwriter, arranger and producer. His playing has what he calls "flairs of Fess" -- a reference to Professor Longhair, patron saint of the New Orleans piano faculty. From Boogie-Woogie and jazz to ballads and blues, Toussaint plays them all amidst crafty horn arrangements, laying out the rhythm section with complex dialogues he makes sound easy.
Allen Toussaint Concert Films
Love for Levon: A Benefit To Save The Barn
Runtime: 2 hr 40 minIt only takes about 200 folks to rattle the rafters during one of the Midnight Rambles at Levon Helm's rustic studio in Woodstock, New York. But it took the 20,000-seat Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey, to hold his adoring fans for the LOVE FOR LEVON tribute concert on October 3, 2012. Helm, who died the previous April from throat cancer, organized his first Ramble back in 2004. People flocked to these intimate events Levon hosted, joined by an enviable core of Woodstock-based musicians and special guests. You couldn't beat the intimacy or the vibe. The Izod Center concert served as a fund-raiser and pledge to keep the Rambles alive. Dozens of luminaries from rock, soul, and country-artists as diverse as Roger Waters, Mavis Staples, and My Morning Jacket-gathered to pay their collective respects in an incredible final tribute to Levon Helm. This LOVE FOR LEVON extravaganza features 27 songs capped by a full group finale of The Weight, one of Levon's greatest moments on record. On this magical night, everyone felt the outpouring of love toward Levon. That evening, one at a time, or sometimes in pairs, music royalty took turns in the spotlight, performing songs associated with Levon Helm and the Band. Produced by Blackbird Presents blackbirdpresents.com
Allen Toussaint Top Tracks
The Night James Brown Saved Boston
Runtime: 1 hr 14 minApril 5, 1968. It is the day after one of the most catastrophic moments in the history of the civil rights movement. Backstage at the Boston Garden, the mood is somber, appropriately funereal. Just 24 hours ago, Martin Luther King, Jr., the most important and beloved African American leader in America, has been assassinated, and though James Brown is booked that night for a show, nobody really wants to go onstage and play: On April 4, 1968, the leader of the nonviolent resistance movement, Martin Luther King, was assassinated in Memphis; On April 5, 1968, James Brown sang, and the city of Boston didn't burn down. This film tells the story of the pivotal role that James Brown-and that particular James Brown concert-played in the political, social and cultural history of the country, focusing on 1968, a defining year for America. Using actual performance footage and the personal recollections of James Brown's band members, friends like activist Reverend Al Sharpton, personal manager Charles Bobbitt, Princeton University Professor Dr. Cornel West, Boston citizens, those who attended the concert, politicians (such as former Boston Mayor Kevin White) and Newsweek's David Gates, The Night James Brown Saved Boston tells the compelling story of an artist at the absolute peak of his powers using his artistry for the greater good.
Runtime: 1 hr 16 minStill Bill is an intimate portrait of soul legend Bill Withers, best known for his classics "Ain't No Sunshine," "Lean On Me," "Lovely Day," "Grandma's Hands," and "Just the Two of Us." With his soulful delivery and warm, heartfelt sincerity, Withers has written the songs that continue to resonate deeply within the fabric of our times. Filmmakers Damani Baker and Alex Vlack follow Withers and offer a unique and rare look inside the world of this fascinating man. Through concert footage, journeys to his birthplace and interviews with music and sports legends, his family and closest friends, STILL BILL presents the story of an artist who has written some of the most beloved songs of our time and who truly understands the heart and soul of a man.
Live at Montreux
Runtime: 1 hr 42 minIsaac Hayes is one of the most influential and respected figures in Black American music. In a career that dates back to the start of the sixties he has had top selling singles, released ground breaking albums, composed the Grammy and Oscar winning film score for "Shaft", supplied the voice of Chef in "South Park" and written innumerable hit songs for other artists. Isaac Hayes has made several appearances at Montreux but this one, his most recent appearance from 2005, undoubtedly captures him at his very best with trademark performances of all his best-known tracks.
Live at Montreux 2006
Runtime: 1 hr 56 minSoul legend Solomon Burke delivers a twenty-song set in Montreux. He delivers renditions of such classics as "Georgia On My Mind," and "I Will Survive,", and he performs a number of medleys that include such recognizable standards as "When the Saints Go Marching In," "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay," and "Tutti Frutti."
The Musical Mojo of Dr. John: A Celebration of Mac & His Music
Runtime: 1 hr 41 minOn Saturday, May 3, 2014, esteemed musicians and friends joined together for “The Musical Mojo of Dr. John: A Celebration of Mac & His Music”, a special concert event taping honoring this musical icon in his hometown of New Orleans. Taking place at the historic Saenger Theatre in the French Quarter, the concert paid homage to Dr. John’s illustrious songbook and featured once-in-a-lifetime collaborations from a lineup of prestigious and award-winning artists. Produced by Blackbird Presents blackbirdpresents.com