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KPLU Remembers Allen Toussaint

Allen Toussaint on stage in Australia in 2013. He died Monday at age 77 in Madrid, Spain.

Over the course of a career that lasted some sixty years, pianist, producer and songwriter Allen Toussaint's music and sound became a hugely influential force for artists working in many different genres.

Toussaint died on Monday night in Madrid, at the age of 77.

As an artist, Mr. Toussaint has crossed many paths in his illustrious career in music. He produced, wrote for, and performed with music giants such as Dr. John, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, Boz Scaggs and Irma Thomas to name a few.

Toussaint premiered his ballet, a collaboration with Twyla Tharp, "Waiting at the Station" in Seattle at the Pacific NW Ballet in 2013.

KPLU's Robin Lloyd remembers, "He was in the orchestra pit, conducting, and smiling that great smile the whole time."

In 2011, Toussaint appeared as a guest on KPLU’s Studio Sessions.

He began the performance with the first song he ever recorded, Happy Times. He followed that up with a song originally written for himself, but was turned into a huge hit by Boz Scaggs, and later Bonnie Raitt, “What Do You Want The Girl Do”:

Closing out the session, Toussaint performed, “It's A New Orleans Thing”, inspired by the late Professor Longhair, who Toussaint referred to as the "Bach" of New Orleans music. Listen for hints of Professor's classic Tipitina throughout the tune:

As the news of Toussaint's death has spread, artists and other luminaries have been pouring out their grief on social media. Here's a selection of their tributes: