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2016-08-22 07:03:40

Allen Toussaint surprises to the end This week we lost 72 year old Bernie Worrell, the synth wizard of Funkadelic and Talking Heads and session player on hundreds of recordings (and sampled on hundreds more hip hop records), who redefined the keyboard's role in R Ray Ban RB4151 Sunglasses Gradient Black Frame Crystal Green Len
Ray Ban RB4151 Sunglasses Gradient Black Frame Crystal Green Len and funk and pop. A few months ago we lost Keith Emerson, 71, who redefined the role of piano, organ and synth in jazzy and bombastic rock music. And a few months before that, we lost Allen Toussaint, 77, the man who almost single handedly introduced the unique New Orleans sound into rock and soul music, midwifing recordings by Lee Dorsey, The Meters, Labelle, The Band and Dr. John. It's been a horrible 12 months for keyboard heroes. Herbie Hancock, watch your back. This is the final recording by Toussaint, who, in the last decade of his life, was making lovely, simply adorned records that took leisurely strolls through his legacy. This one is no different, walking through a century of American music by composers such as Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Bill Evans, Earl King, Professor Longhair, Fats Waller and more, including Toussaint's own compositions (including his hit for Glen Campbell, "Southern Nights") and the title song, by Paul Simon. That song, the last one recorded for the album a month before Toussaint's death of a heart attack following a performance in Madrid contains these lyrics: "And I dreamed I was dying / And I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly / And looking back down at me / Smiled reassuringly." Produced by Joe Henry, who also helmed 2009's The Bright Mississippi, American Tunes features the sympathetic rhythm section of drummer Jay Bellerose and Toronto bassist David Piltch, with guest spots from Bill Frisell, Greg Liesz, and vocalist Rhiannon Giddens. I thought I knew everything Toussaint could deliver until I heard him dive into a 19th century composition by Louis Moreau Gottschalk, who was born in New Orleans but spent most of his life in the Caribbean and South America. Surprising us right until the end. Stream: "Big Chief," "Danza, Op. 33," "Dolores' Boyfriend" Canada has no shortage of rock bands. What this country is lacking, however, are fantastic rock singers: people who can grab a song by the throat, who can be heard above electric guitars even without a microphone. More howlers, fewer growlers, please. Saidah Baba Talibah daughter of Salome Bey, one of this country's greatest R voices in the '70s and '80s reinventing herself as a rocker here, after starting her career in a bluesier vein. The blues is still present here, but on opening track "Warrior" she goes for the jugular in ways the Toronto scene probably hasn't seen since Danko Jones. "You're gonna know my name / from the Mississippi to the Rhine," she boasts and by the end of the track you're more than inclined to agree. As strong as that song is, in the context of the album it seems like a gimmick to get you to pay attention. Once she's got you hooked, Sate starts to get serious: right away she delves into the blues of "What Did I Do," and "Mama Talk to Me" is a poignant, emotional rocker about Bey's struggles with dementia. For all her fiery delivery, the upbeat tracks here suffer in comparison with the slower numbers, especially the gorgeous, gospel tinged closer, "Peace." Red Black and Blue is an uneven record by an artist searching for her sound, but there's not denying that Sate is a force to be reckoned with. Her talent is too enormous to be denied. Stream: "Warrior," "Mama Talk to Me," "Peace" Of Monsters and Men have shifted our perceptions of Icelandic music away from esoteric electronica, avant garde pop stars and whatever it is Sigur Ros happens to be, and toward catchy yet bland radio rock. Which is why it's refreshing to encounter Samaris, a Reykjavik trio that draws from '90s trip hop, dubby electronica and the (relatively) more recent sounds coming from London's Hyperdub label, including Hamilton's Jessy Lanza. Breathy female vocals and strong, skittering beats even at slower tempos are adorned with equally dreamy and disquieting synths, making for languid late night vibes.

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