As music lovers, we’re susceptible to a great remake; the more out-there the better. The rare kind of renditions that can move you to give your last dollar to a subway performer and miss your train, hoping to hear more. Chance upon Toussaint Thompson’s music and you might come close to those reactions.
The seasoned Hammond B3 player from Miami updates a style of instrumental jazz popularized by organists like Jimmy Smith, Brother Jack McDuff, Richard “Groove” Holmes and Shirley Scott in the late 1950s and ’60s. This sound continued to be influential with soul fusionists like Brian Auger, Booker T. Jones and Charles Earland in the ’70s.
Highlights of Toussaint’s Soundcloud page are low-fi live recordings of ’80s pop standards like “Roxanne”, “I Can’t Go For That” and (my favorite) an exceptional take on Kool & The Gang’s “Too Hot”. Seated comfortably nearby are ’70s R&B diehards like “Can’t Hide Love” and a melancholy “La La Means I Love You”. Even some synthy accents don’t prevent Bach’s “Air On The G String” from being performed with the sort of gospel passion which recalls the classical training of Nina Simone and Donny Hathaway. Similarly, Thompson’s style is raw, lyrical and never overshadows his intimate ensemble. You listen convinced that the man loves all music, knows his instrument and understands the melodic appeal of the popular song.