Upon his discharge in 1965, Toussaint teamed up with fellow producer Marshall Sehorn to form a production company and record label, Sansu Enterprises.
Their most profitable association was with Lee Dorsey, who returned to the upper reaches of the R&B charts with Toussaint-penned hits like "Ride Your Pony," the oft-covered "Get Out of My Life Woman," the immortal "Working in a Coalmine," and "Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky (From Now On)" (covered by jazzman Lou Donaldson).
In 1966, Sansu also engaged the services of a house band dubbed the Meters, who supplied backing for nearly all of the company's productions; after the Meters started making their own records in 1969 (produced by Toussaint), they developed into arguably the top instrumental funk ensemble of the '70s outside of the J. In 1971, Toussaint recorded his first solo album in over a decade for Scepter, calling it simply Toussaint (it was later reissued in the U. as From a Whisper to a Scream, after its best-known track).
Lee." In 1958, Toussaint recorded an instrumental album for RCA called The Wild Sound of New Orleans, under the alias Tousan; one of his original compositions for the record, "Java," went on to become a smash hit for Dixieland jazz trumpeter Al Hirt five years later.
Toussaint also began writing under the pseudonym Naomi Neville, after his mother's maiden name.
Even if he wasn't always the most visible figure, Toussaint's contributions to New Orleans music -- and to rock & roll in general -- were such that he earned induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Toussaint was born January 14, 1938, in New Orleans, and began learning piano at age seven, inspired by Professor Longhair; his style later grew to include elements of Fats Domino, Huey "Piano" Smith, and Ray Charles.
The absence of their unerring sense of groove was noticeable on Toussaint's final solo LP for quite some time, 1978's Motion.
Toussaint's activities tailed off in the years that followed; he still produced, arranged, and played piano on selected projects, which included albums by blues artists Etta James and Albert King, and rockers Elvis Costello and Joe Cocker, among others.
When Banashak left Minit to found another label, Instant, Toussaint went with him to fulfill much the same duties; he also freelanced elsewhere, most prominently with Dorsey's recordings for the Fury label, and cut a few low-profile singles of his own, mostly for Seville.
In 1963, Toussaint was drafted into the military, during which time he recorded with his backing band the Stokes while on leave; one of their tunes, the Naomi Neville credit "Whipped Cream," was covered by Herb Alpert in 1965 for an instrumental hit, which was in turn later adopted as the theme for TV's The Dating Game.
Producer, songwriter, arranger, session pianist, solo artist -- Allen Toussaint wore all these hats over the course of his lengthy and prolific career, and his behind-the-scenes work alone would have been enough to make him a legend of New Orleans R&B.