By Bill Milkowski | Published September 2017
Galactic drummer Stanton Moore formed his own trio (with Astral Project pianist David Torkanowsky and bassist James Singleton) a few years back to explore music beyond the confines of that New Orleans jam band’s funky base. Their 2014 outing, Conversations, featured Moore on straightahead swingers inspired by New Orleans hard-bop drummer James Black along with a couple of second-line groovers that showcased his street-beat chops. On this follow-up album, a tribute to the late Crescent City icon Allen Toussaint, the interactive trio is joined by a host of special guests who put a personal spin on tunes by the prolific New Orleans songwriter.
Trombone Shorty, the hottest commodity out of New Orleans these days, contributes some earthy tailgate lines on “Here Come The Girls,” a 1970 hit for Ernie K-Doe. Moore and his crew put a 7/8 spin on Toussaint’s “Life,” and they deliver a slamming 5/4 version of the 1969 Lee Dorsey tune “Everything I Do Gone Be Funky,” which features guest Maceo Parker on vocals and alto saxophone.
The biggest surprise here is “The Beat,” based on a Toussaint poem from a little-known book of poetry he wrote back in the day. Recited by Cyril Neville, this rare spoken-word number, underscored by Moore’s entrancing Afro-Caribbean rhythms, is another ingenious way that the drummer was able to put his own stamp on the legend’s music.
With You In Mind: The Songs Of Allen Toussaint: Here Come The Girls; Life; Java; All These Things; Night People; The Beat; Riverboat; Everything I Do Gone Be Funky; With You In Mind; Southern Nights. (61:00)
Personnel: Stanton Moore, drums; David Torkanowsky, piano; James Singleton, bass; Cyril Neville, vocals (1, 2, 6); Trombone Shorty, trombone (1, 3); Nicholas Payton, trumpet (2, 3, 7, 10); Donald Harrison, alto saxophone (3, 7), Maceo Parker (5, 8); Skerik, tenor saxophone (2); Jolynda Kiki Chapman, vocals (4); Wendell Pierce, vocals (10).