Allen Toussaint: Connected

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No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Connected offers a generous program (62 minutes) of some of the best, most soulful pop that's been heard in the last twenty years. Such style must seem old-fashioned now. No samples, no contrived rhythms, no phony raps and hardly any concessions to contemporary popular music. Stuff this good hasn't been heard since the late 70s when you were sure to hear great Toussaint tunes like Labelle's "Lady Marmalade" (1975) or Glen Cambell's "Southern Nights" (1977) on the radio.

What you have here is melodic, soulful songs with catchy hooks and danceable grooves. Sometimes the lyrics are goofy ("Computer Lady," "Ahya"). But the tunes – one and all – grab attention and hold on. Among the favorites are the spunky, funky instrumentals: "Get Out of My Life, Woman," "Funky Bars," "All of It" and "Rolling With The Punches." They're not really jazz. But they feature Toussaint strolling in his wondrously appealing way on piano. They got groove too. As for the tunes you can sing along to, go for the joy-to-the-world soul anthems of "We're All Connected" and "Aign Nyee" or the joy-of-love celebrations of "Pure Uncut Love" (interesting title) and "Oh My" (featuring Dave Bartholomew on trumpet). Connected, recorded between 1994 and 1996, isn't really jazz, but it offers joyful listening for those who appreciate the appeal of pop music and – at least for this listener – the happiness music sometimes offers.

Tracks:Pure Uncut Love; Do The Do; Computer Lady; Get Out Of My Life, Woman; We're All Connected' Sweet Dreams; Funky Bars; Ahya; If I Leave; Aign Nyee; In Your Love; Oh My; All Of It; Wrong Number; Rolling With The Punches.Collective

Personnel:

Collective Dave Bartholomew, Stacy Cole, Jamil Sharif: trumpet; Edward Reed, Brian Cayolle: baritone sax; Fred Kemp, Amadee Castenell: tenor sax; Gary Brown: alto sax and tenor sax; Allen Toussaint: piano, Fender Rhodes, synthesizer, vocals; Sammy Berfect: organ; J.R. Branch: synthesizer; Scott Goudea, Leo Nocentelli: guitar; Chris Severin, Roland Guerin: bass; Bernard "Bunchy" Johnson, Russell Batiste, Herman Lebeaux: drums; Bill Summers, Clarence "Reginald" Toussaint: percussion; Tricia Boutte, Suzanne Bonseigneur, Ed Roussell, Tomika Goffner, Tanya Elllsworth, Terri De Gruy: background vocals.

Record Label: NYNO

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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