He was the epitome of sophistication and class yet his music was acceptable to all classes of people. His music surpassed labels and genres. As a pianist he ranks among my top five most influential pianists. I was deeply saddened to hear the news of his passing. The news came not too long after the passing of one of my mentors Harold Battiste which put me in a more than vulnerable state. I’ve been among Mr. Toussaint’s physical presence at least a dozen times and I never knew what to say to him. He had an aura that demanded a high level of respect without intimidation. I never saw him without a three piece suit on (even in the middle of a 100 degree New Orleans summer). I always told myself “…don’t bother that man, he gets enough strangers bothering him everyday…”. I wish I could go back in time to take advantage of the many opportunities to shake his hand and look him in the eye and tell him how much his music touched my soul.
Below is a solo vibraphone recording I did at Jeff Coffin’s house. I hope to have the musical career and touch people’s spirit the way he did.