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Back in 1986, Allen Toussaint told All Things Considered that he could write a song from the scraps of a joke, or from snippets of conversations. If the occasion called for it, he could even fashion writer's block into verse.

"Well, how do you write a song?" he offered, playfully. "Do you make it short? Do you make it long? Is there any right? Is there any wrong? Just how do you write a song?"

Over the course of a career that lasted some sixty years, pianist, producer and songwriter Allen Toussaint's music and sound became a hugely influential force for artists working in many different genres. Toussaint died on Monday night in Madrid, at the age of 77.

As the news has spread, artists and other luminaries have been pouring out their grief on social media. Here's a selection of their tributes.

If you listen to music on the radio, chances are you'll hear a lot of lyrics that don't match the ones on the original album recordings. When songs get profanity, obscenity or references to drugs or sex removed for broadcast, it's a process known as clean editing. Joel Mullis is one of the masters of the art.

If you think it's too early for Christmas ads, you're not alone. But the new seasonal spot from British retailer John Lewis is something of a sensation, with nearly 12 million people having watched the tear-jerking video since Thursday.

Ever have a great run of great ideas — one after another?

Jaki Byard On Piano Jazz

Nov 6, 2015

Arranger and composer Jaki Byard (1922–1999) played jazz piano, as well as alto and tenor saxophone. A partner of Maynard Ferguson and a member of bands led by Charles Mingus, Byard went on to become an educator, teaching at the New England Conservatory and other institutions.

All of Marisa Anderson's music has travelled thousands of miles. This is literally true — the Portland, Ore. guitarist spent her late teens and twenties walking across the United States — and it's one of her gifts as a musician. She revels in the journey, in the process that of getting from point A to point B.

The Techno Feminists Next Door

Nov 6, 2015

"We're Discwoman."

LANGUAGE ADVISORY: This song contains explicit language.

Miguel is an L.A. native whose seductive mix of soul and boundary-pushing experimentation has cemented his status as a major young star. He gets personal on his latest album Wildheart — and in this session — which includes this song, "What's Normal Anyway."

SET LIST

  • "What's Normal Anyway"

Watch Miguel's full performance at KCRW.com.

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