Last Saturday the great New Orleans composer, pianist, and vocalist Allen Toussaint played the Miner Auditorium. If we give the first half of the 20th century to the Gershwins, Rogers and Hart and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Jimmy Van Heusen, Jerome Kern, and the other creators of the Great American Song Book, there is no more influential songwriter for the second half of the century than Allen Toussaint. With equal amounts of Eurpean classical (particularly Mozart and the romantics) blues, gospel, jazz, New Orleans second line, and a swamp funk that he virtually invented, Toussaint is the embodiment of American music. A consumate showman, twirling around the stage in his multi-colored tux, at one point throwing Mardi Gras toys to the audience, he made the two hour concert deem very brief indeed. And it takes two hours to cover most, if not all, of his hits. Perhaps the best way to illistrate the magnatude of his influence is to list some of his songs, and ask you to think of all the artists that covered them: Java, Whipped Cream, A Certain Girl, Fortune Teller, Get Out of My Life, Woman, Working in a Coal Mine, Sneakin' Sally through the Alley, Yes We Can, Night People, and Southern Nights. As with all great artists, the entire history of the music channels through him, leading us on to the future.