The first thing you do when you hear the late great Allen Toussant’s take "St. James Infirmary" is at the first imprint of sound consider the amount of times this anonymous standard has been recorded, much less played in a dormant piano bar by a pair of hands that feel its languishing generosity.
Allen Toussaint on stage at the Roosevelt Hotel, New Orleans, 2009
And now, the slow tap dance is moving with a handclap and you’re inside of it: the restrained piano that fingers the keys, then loves them in full honor of both song and instrument, trading space with the acoustic guitar, and bending the strings with such passion where not one note is wasted, nor a single lyric sung, free of his classic horn charts that through the decades made so many seminal albums great. Here on the Bright Mississippi, released well after Katrina, in 2009, the river that gives and takes equally from its people. A land that could only raise an artistry, in all things beautiful and impoverished, this, the majesty of Louisiana, and of Allen Toussaint.