The Bright Mississippi
Now that Allen Toussaint's undeniable "Yes We Can Can" has became a positive American anthem in response to these negative times, the New Orleans legend takes a step back with this Big Easy saunter through 20th century jazz. Producer Joe Henry backs the pianist with an incredible band that includes guitarist Marc Ribot, trumpet-master Nicholas Payton, clarinetist Don Byron and a number of all-star guests. The warm, majestic feeling of this one is special -- it's like being reintroduced to old friends after too many years spent apart. One of the best jazz albums of 2009.