3. Allen Toussaint, "The Bright Mississippi" (Nonesuch): With a Hall of Fame track record in the world of bayou funk and R&B, it's surprising the 71-year-old pianist touched on jazz so infrequently. Joined by heavyweights including Don Byron, Marc Ribot and Nicholas Payton with warm production courtesy of Joe Henry, Toussaint offers vivid takes on New Orleans classics. The post-Katrina city might never be the same, but it's never sounded better.
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