Stanton Moore’s With You in Mind: The Songs of Allen Toussaint in stores today, performance tonight, 7/21

Galactic drummer Stanton Moore has held down a regular Tuesday night jazz gig with bassist James Singleton and pianist David Torkanowsky at Snug Harbor for several years now. When it came time to record their second album, the unexpected death of New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint put a kink in their plans. The intended album of original music was put on hold and the group went into the studio to record a tribute to the great pianist, composer, bandleader, and producer.

The result, With You in Mind: the Songs of Allen Toussaint, is available today. The trio will play an in-store set at the Louisiana Music Factory this evening at 7 PM.

Years of playing together have honed the trio into an intuitive working unit. For the album, they took some liberties with Toussaint’s iconic time signatures, essentially re-working some of the songs. Toussaint was famous for re-arranging tunes and would certainly be impressed with the results.

Since Toussaint’s most famous work was for other singers, the group brought in some outside vocalists including Cyril Neville. The soulful singer puts his on stamp on the once-obscure song, “Here Come the Girls,” a track originally done by the one-and-only Ernie K-Doe, which has had a second life in recent years after appearing on a British advertisement.

Neville also tackles “Night People.” It’s kind of amazing he never recorded the song before considering the tune fits him like the proverbial “T.” Maceo Parker, one of several horn-playing guests including Nicholas Payton and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, takes a great alto saxophone solo on the track.

Another obscure cut by Toussaint, “Riverboat,” which was recorded by the even more obscure singer and harmonica player, King Biscuit Boy, gets the instrumental treatment with Payton and alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, Jr. raising it up a couple notches.

Toussaint’s death still has the music community of New Orleans reeling. This past Jazz Fest represented the first time in decades that the ever-dapper gentlemen was not spotted in his signature sandals walking around the New Orleans Fairgrounds.

This album is an impressive step towards making sure the musicians of the world honor his legacy for time immortal. Let’s hope many, many other players who were influenced by the man and his music make similar efforts.

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