Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Toussaint, Payton, Krown bring New Orleans to Toronto

Allen Toussaint
I went to Koerner Hall last night for A Night In New Orleans featuring Allen Toussaint, Nicholas Payton and The Joe Krown Trio. This group has been touring for the last few months and Toronto was the last stop. The idea for the tour came from Toussaint's latest CD A Bright Mississippi. Payton appeared on the CD. I saw Toussaint at last summer's Toronto Jazz Festival and last night was a completely different band. The show started with The Joe Krown Trio with Joe Krown on organ, Walter "Wolfman" Washington on guitar and vocals and Russell Batiste Jr. on drums. These are accomplished veteran New Orleans musicians who have worked together for several years. In fact, they just released a new CD called Triple Threat. Though originally from Long Island, NY, Krown moved to New Orleans in 1992 to work with Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown until Brown's 2005 death. He has also worked with Chuck Berry and Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson. I was very excited to see Walter "Wolfman" Washington. He has been a New Orleans music fixture since the late 50s. He has worked with Johnny Adams, Lee Dorsey, Irma Thomas and has had his own band since the 70s. Russell Batiste Jr. started out with the late 80s reworked version of The Meters. So they may not be household names but they know what they're doing. They played a great set and Wolfman gave us some really tasty guitar licks. Then Nicholas Payton came out and played some songs. He sang as well but I'd rather hear him play the trumpet. Joining the band was Reggie Toussaint (Allen's son) on percussion and Mori Moriyama (I think. I may have that wrong) on bass. And after the intermission, Allen Toussaint came out for his set. Payton came out to join the band a couple of times. Toussaint is a virtuoso pianist and he has so many songs to choose from that he'll never run out of material. The other musicians integrated very well with the change of material and Wolfman even played guitar with his teeth. It was very enjoyable. I like pros who know exactly what they're doing and deliver great music. I was not surprised but I was happy.

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