Visitation and a musical tribute for New Orleans songwriter, producer and pianist Allen Toussaint will be held Friday at the Orpheum Theatre.
Toussaint died Nov. 10 of a heart attack after a performance in Madrid, Spain.
Visitation will take place from 8 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Friday at the Orpheum, 129 Roosevelt Way. A tribute to begin at 11 a.m. will feature musical performances coordinated in part by New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival producer Quint Davis. The funeral will be private.
Meanwhile, the already scheduled Dec. 8 benefit concert for New Orleans Artists Against Hunger and Homelessness is being recast as a tribute. The event’s new title is “A Tribute to Allen Toussaint featuring Paul Simon and Friends.” Toussaint and Simon were originally scheduled to co-headline the event.
Also, Nonesuch Records has announced it will release a new album by Toussaint sometime in 2016. The label issued a statement about it in conjunction with the album’s producer, Joe Henry, who previously produced Toussaint’s Grammy-nominated 2009 release, “The Bright Mississippi.”
Toussaint, Aaron Neville and other New Orleans musicians launched NOAAHH in 1985. The nonprofit organization benefits hungry and homeless people in the New Orleans region.
A statement on the group’s website said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our founder and friend, Allen Toussaint. He was a light to NOAAHH, the community and the world. Through his music and his philanthropy he enriched this world. We were blessed to call him our friend.”
Simon posted a message about Toussaint on his website: “Allen Toussaint was my dear friend. The most gifted, gracious and generous man that you could ever want to meet.”
Tickets for the NOAAHH benefit Dec. 8 at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre are $500 (including a pre-concert reception and open bar at Dickie Brennan’s Tableau restaurant at 6:30 p.m.) and $300 (including open bar at 7:30 p.m.).
In its 30 years of existence, NOAAHH has distributed more than $2 million. Proceeds from its concerts and gala celebrity mixers are given to philanthropic agencies and charities experienced in providing food and shelter to those in need.
The statement from Henry, the album producer, and Nonesuch described the most recent sessions for the upcoming album:
“Joining Allen over four days this past October in a Hollywood studio were the rhythm section of Jay Bellerose and David Piltch joined by other masters of understated invention — guitarist Bill Frisell; legendary tenor saxophonist Charles Lloyd; multi-instrumentalist Greg Leisz; the luminous singer Rhiannon Giddens; and the irrepressible composer/arranger/pianist Van Dyke Parks, who had a long friendship and collaborative relationship with Allen dating back to the early 1970s.”
Henry added: “I have been working with Allen Toussaint — under his spell and subject to his influence — for a full decade now. He was a quiet radical, musically speaking, and a prince of great humility. In listening to all of the recordings these past days, reeling from the shock of his sudden death, it has meant so much to feel Allen’s spirit, vibrant and undiminished. Allen’s family, our friends at Nonesuch and I look forward to sharing the music with the world.”
The many hits written and/or produced by Toussaint included Glen Campbell’s “Southern Nights,” Lee Dorsey’s “Working in the Coalmine,” Ernie K-Doe’s “Mother-in-Law” and Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade.” He also worked with Aaron Neville, Paul McCartney, The Band, Eric Clapton and dozens more.
Toussaint’s family asked that donations in his memory be made to NOAAHH. They may be sent c/o Loyola University, Campus Box 12, New Orleans, LA 70118.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by D.W. Rhodes Funeral Home.
Dominic Massa, of WWL-TV, contributed to this article.