Earlier I mentioned that Allen Toussaint has a record coming out that includes his take on “SJI.” The release date is April 21. The whole record is Toussaint versions of music he grew up with, but that was never really part of his professional repertoire — “Winin’ Boy Blues,” “Dear Old Southland,” “Solitude,” and the title track. On the Nonesuch page for the record:
While Toussaint has always known material like “West End Blues” and “St. James Infirmary,” he admits that, as a performer, “I hadn’t tackled them on my own. ‘Tackle’ is a bad word—I hadn’t caressed them on my own, except to listen from time to time in passing. Even the gigs that I’ve done during my gigging days, I was playing whatever was on the radio at the time, boogie-ing and woogie-ing and the like. I hadn’t been through this standard bag. I always loved those songs, but I had never been in a setting where that is what I would do for a while. Until now.”
The guest musician lineup is killer: Don Byron, Nicholas Payton, Marc Ribot, David Piltch, Jay Bellerose, Brad Mehldau and Joshua Redman.
Here is the full track listing — which credits the composer of “SJI” as “traditional.” I’m very excited to hear this whole record, as you can probably tell.