Music: Allen Toussaint & the Columbus Jazz Orchestra

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

When Allen Toussaint comes to town, it doesn't matter if it's October. It's Mardi Gras time.

If the New Orleans piano legend's name doesn't ring a bell, it's just because you haven't been paying enough attention.

One of America's most influential songwriters, he's performed with and had songs covered by everyone from Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones to Etta James and even Devo. He wrote "Working in a Coal Mine" and produced "Lady Marmalade" (Labelle, not Christina Aguilera). He's featured on Eric Clapton's new album and has been on several episodes of HBO's "Treme."

Before Hurricane Katrina, Toussaint mostly stuck to performing in the Big Easy. He began touring the country post-hurricane, and he'll bring his lively brand of jazz to the stage with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra for the ensemble's "New Orleans on Parade" concert.

The ensemble's spokesman, Scott Vezdos, says Toussaint will perform New Orleans jazz standards and probably a Louis Armstrong song or two. Whatever he plays, you can count on it being feel-good.

"When you think of New Orleans the city, you think of American resilience. You think of rebirth. You think of this refusal to be beaten or feel negative about anything," Vezdos said. "It's this really constant, positive, uplifting feeling that the music brings."

Columbus Jazz Orchestra

Oct. 27-31

Southern Theatre

21 E. Main St., Downtown