In Memoriam

Allen Toussaint dies at 77

by Christiaan Mader

The world has lost one of the great communicators of Louisiana culture.

Arranger, producer, songwriter, pianist and ambassador of New Orleans music Allen Toussaint has passed away at the age of 77, hours after a performance in Spain. Throughout his career, Toussaint was called upon as expert in the language of New Orleans jazz and R&B by a pantheon of collaborators.

He arranged horns for The Band in The Last Waltz, made a run of records with Elvis Costello, stoked the nascent fires of the Meters and wrote hits recorded by Ernie K. Doe and The Rolling Stones.

He appeared at Festival International de Louisiane in 1989 and 2001, and holds the distinction as the only performer to arrive in the elegant bombast of a limousine — no doubt wearing a smart suit and a musical smile.

A video of his last performance in Spain has surfaced, and you can watch it here.