Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Allen Toussaint @Prospect Park Bandshell, June 12th

Despite having to work the next morning, I dragged Bestest Boy out to Prospect Park on Saturday to make use of our Friend passes we received for contributing to Celebrate Brooklyn!, the group responsible for the excellent line up at the Bandshell summer after summer. We caught a great pairing of New Orleans pianists, the legendary Allen Toussaint, and the entertaining Davell Crawford.

(More words and pics after the jump.)

Crawford came on the stage first alone, playing a short set of about half an hour of so. He impressed us with his flashy skills on the keys, and paid tribute to a number of influences. He seemed genuinely happy to be there to be warming up the crowd for who was to come next.

After Crawford's set, Allen Toussaint took to the enormous stage, also by himself, and led us through an hour long set of a wide selection of songs, ranging from the beautifully introspective to that big New Orleans funk thump-thump-thump. I was especially pleased by our seating in the pit, which allowed us to really watch both gentlemen as their fingers flew with great ease while tickling the ivories.

Toussaint was a nice contrast to the flash of Crawford. His quiet but focused energy made us feel like he was playing to an intimate group of people in some random jazz club, not a big park in the middle of New York City with thousands of people.

To close out the evening after Toussaint, Crawford returned to the stage, but this time with a full band. They played more rockin' selections, and also featured other players, including a great solo segment by the percussionist and singing by the flautist.

I am so pleased to have caught this show and look forward to seeing much, much more this summer at Prospect Park.

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