Entertainment Music

Friday 24 November 2017

Jazz: Music maestro is singin' the blues

Piano man: Allen Toussaint is a captivating performer
Piano man: Allen Toussaint is a captivating performer

Grainne Farren

Singer, pianist, songwriter and entertainer, Allen Toussaint needs no bass or drums, as he is his own rhythm section. This is a live recording made in Joe's Pub, New York, where his amiable manner and sense of humour captivated the audience as much as his music. While his repertoire extends beyond the blues, he invests every song with blues feeling, backed by deceptively simple piano accompaniments.

All the tunes are originals by Toussaint, with the exception of St James Infirmary, a traditional twelve-bar blues played as a piano solo. His speaking voice, which is just as attractive as his singing, is heard to advantage in the final track, Southern Nights, where he talks about his childhood visits to the country.

Castaneda (harp) with special guests on some tracks: Gonzalo Rubalcaba (piano), Miguel Zenon (alto sax) and Hamilton de Holanda (mandolina).

If jazz can be played on the accordion, why not the harp? Edmar Castaneda plays the arpa llanera, or Colombian harp, and, in addition to Gonzalo Rubalcaba, has worked with Wynton Marsalis, Joe Locke and John Scofield. The result, while not exactly for the jazz purist, is fascinating music by a phenomenal virtuoso. You have to see him in person to believe that only one pair of hands is playing all those strings.

On his recent Music Network tour, Castaneda won the hearts of audiences from Dublin to Carrick-on-Shannon to Limerick.

Sundays are full of live action, with a choice of residencies to tempt you away from the fireside. Zrazy can be heard in the Odessa Club, Dame Court, at 4 pm. Cormac O'Brien's group plays in the International Bar, Wicklow Street, from 6 pm. The Long John Jump Band lets the good times roll in the Café en Seine from 6.30 pm. Nigel Mooney and Derek O'Connor play in Harry's Bar, South King Street, from 7pm to 9pm.

Sunday Independent

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