Tuesday, July 18, 2017

With Him In Mind: Stanton Moore Pays Tribute To Allen Toussaint

The death of David Bowie in January of 2016 kicked off what seemed like weekly death notices that lasted well into 2017. But this long miserable stretch of loss and sadness really began eight weeks prior. The sudden death of the legendary New Orleans songwriter, piano player and producer, Allen Toussaint, at the conclusion of a November concert in Madrid, threw New Orleans, and the music world, into a state of disbelief. While working with his trio on the follow-up to his wonderful 2014 record, "Conversations," drummer Stanton Moore stopped the sessions. He knew what he needed to do.  His band, bassist James Singleton and pianist David Torkanowsky agreed, and "With You In Mind" was born.

The songs here are not jazz trio interpretations of your fave Lee Dorsey and K-Doe singles. No sir. These boys would not settle for that. Are you kidding me? This record is an event. A celebration. An exercise in stamina and imagination. The trio is augmented by the Crescent City's finest, including a brass section featuring Trombone Shorty, Nicholas Payton, Mark Mullins and Donald Harrison Jr., as well as the soulful vocals of Brother Cyril Neville on five of the tracks, one of which is an impossibly funky version of "Everything I Do Gone Be Funky." In 5/4!  Neville also lends his vocals to "Night People" and Ernie K-Doe's "Here Come The Girls," both of which, again, have been reimagined in ways only this fine trio can produce. Another highlight, is also one of the most beautiful pieces of music you will hear this year, an absolutely stunning take on the title track, showcasing the enormously talented David Torkanowsky on piano. You will be moved.

If I made one hundred trips to New Orleans in the last twenty years, you can be sure, I saw one or all three of these musicians on each visit. In a number of instances, the trips were planned around these guys. In a city full of amazing drummers, it can be a challenge to remain one of the best. And as a drummer myself, I can tell you, Stanton Moore is at the top of his game. If I said that James Singleton and David Torkanowsky are two of the most exciting and innovative musicians to ever come out of New Orleans, it would not be hyperbole. The music created and performed by this trio, individually, collectively and basically in any shape or form, has been some of my favorite music of the last quarter century, so it is no surprise at all that "With You In Mind: The Songs Of Allen Toussaint" is every bit as brilliant as I expected it to be.

"With You In Mind: The Songs Of Allen Toussaint" drops Friday, July 21st. I implore you to pick up what will be, one of the five best records of 2017.



Michael Giltz said...

Can't wait to check it out, congrats on the album release for The John Sally Ride and also thanks for giving me an extra few days to consider the torturous choice between "Can't Buy Me Love" and "Michelle." I knew which one I would choose the second I played them both but I hate myself for it. Hence the torture. Can I honestly choose the other one, I think, playing them again. No, no I cannot.

Anonymous said...

Just pre-ordered the vinyl - can't wait to hear it, especially Here Come The Girls, one of my all-time favorites! Thanks for the heads up. Randy

kevin m said...

Have just pre-ordered. Thanks for the tip Sal.

buzzbabyjesus said...

What about "A Hard Day's Night" vs "Rubber Soul"?

I really hate the next few songs on the latter.

Troy said...

Enjoying it a lot! Fantastic playing and arrangements, and of course the songs are magnificent.