Robertson and company decided to see if Toussaint was "up for writing the horn charts" for The Band's song "Life is a Carnival."
"He called me back and he said, 'I'll meet you in New York next week,'" Robertson recalled with obvious delight. "So I said, 'All right.'"
Robertson said that the top-flight jazz session players hired for the recording session weren't unanimously impressed with Toussaint.
"One of the horn players said to Allen, 'Some of the writing on my chart here's not right. There are some mistakes in here that you should probably fix,'" Robertson said. "It was kind of a New York attitude. They didn't know who this guy was. They had no idea who Allen Toussaint was."
"So Allen looked up," Robertson said, stiffening his voice for affect, "and said, 'Just play what's on the paper.'"
"And it was like, 'Whoooooa,'" Robertson said. "The other horn guys looked at one another like, 'OK, we got some attitude going on here.'"
"And so they played through it," he said. "It was a different kind of horn playing than they were used to. They were used to playing in sections where the horns all played a certain harmony and they played together. This was a horn chart where they didn't play together. It was call and answer a lot of the time. One guy would play a thing and then the other horn would answer. That's very New Orleans, slightly back to the tradition of New Orleans jazz, you know, where people would improvise and horns wouldn't all play together.
"So anyway, they played through the chart and the (critical) guy said, 'This shouldn't work, but it's fantastic.' He said, 'I'm sorry I doubted you,' and then the vibe was completely fine after that."
The blending of Toussaint's second-line horns with The Band's folk/funk style was immediately legendary among rock fans. Based on the collaboration, Billboard magazine sent their Southern correspondent to cover Toussaint and Marshall E. Sehorn's Sea-Saint Studio in Gentilly. The young writer would eventually make a name for himself in the music industry and later still, Toussaint would dedicate a song to him titled: "I'm Gonna Hang with Jimmy Buffett."
Jazz Fest Saturday: Allen Toussaint and Jimmy BuffettAllen Toussaint, right, plays a few songs with Jimmy Buffett, left, on the Acura Stage at the New Orleans Jazz Fest on Saturday, May 3, 2014. (Photo by Chris Granger, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)
"I first became aware of him because I was a senior in high school in Mobile and 'Fortuneteller' (written by Toussaint and recorded by Benny Spellman in 1962) was a huge hit," Buffett said.
Buffett explained that at the time, his radio picked up New Orleans radio station WTIX in the dead of night. "I fell in love with that song," he said. When he bought the 45 he noted Toussaint's name for the first time, along with Toussaint's song-writing pseudonym Naomi Neville.
"If you fast-forward a little bit," Buffett said, to the time he interviewed Toussaint in New Orleans in 1970, "that's when I really started digging what he did. When you realize all the songs that you grew up with on the Gulf Coast, a hell of a lot of them were written by Allen. So I was really aware of how incredibly gifted as a songwriter he was."
"One of things that I think may get missed is his incredible sense of humor in his writing. I mean, 'Holy Cow,' come on, hey."
"Holy Cow," a sort of sad-sack love song, was written by Toussaint and recorded by Lee Dorsey in 1966.
Buffett said that he considers Toussaint the most influential New Orleans musician since Louis Armstrong.
He and Toussaint often watched each other's performances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The song "I'm Gonna Hang with Jimmy Buffett" was a surprise gift in 2004, Buffett said, that Toussaint later said was inspired by Buffett's laid-back crowd.
http://www.nola.com/music/index.ssf/201 ... ion_j.html
Buffett, who occasionally shared stages with Toussaint at Jazz Fest, wore a black hat, shirt, pants and sneakers as he strummed a black acoustic guitar for “Fortune Teller.” He grinned through the lyric, “Now I get my fortune told for free,” acknowledging Toussaint’s sense of humor.
http://theadvocate.com/news/neworleans/ ... -toussaint
Allen Toussaint at 2011 Jazz Fest "Hanging With Jimmy Buffett"