Jean Toussaint Allstar 6tet
Saturday 6 October
Taliesin Arts Centre
“Art used to say ‘it doesn’t matter how complex you want to play as long as you swing and play from the heart’, then he’d cite the great John Coltrane as an example. I owe it all to the great Art Blakey and I’ll be a Jazz Messenger for life.” – Jean Toussaint
Grammy-winning saxophonist Jean Toussaint first came to prominence when he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in 1982, after studying at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Since moving to London in 1987, Toussaint has released ten critically acclaimed CDs as a leader. At this special performance, Jean will present his 11th album, Brother Raymond, as part of his UK tour, recorded following extensive touring in 2015 and 2016 with his All-Star Roots & Herbs project.
The music of Brother Raymond builds on the legacy of Blakey but above all confirms Toussaint’s place as an accomplished composer at the forefront of modern jazz. Standout tracks include the opening Amabo, an African groove dedicated to Barack Obama. The title track, written for Toussaint’s eldest brother who passed away in 2015, draws upon the influences of Toussaint’s favourite composers, Duke Ellington and Wayne Shorter.
“Art was one of the most inspirational band leaders rated amongst some of the greatest. Names like Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Miles Davis comes to mind. They all had an inclusive way of band leading that made each member feel a part of the family,” explains Toussaint. “Through the music, Art encouraged us to strive and reach beyond ourselves and work as one to create musical excitement while never losing sight of the audience.”