Sunday, August 17, 2008

Toots! Jazz on Harmonica

I first heard Toots Thielemans when I was a wet behind the ears jazz fan. A college professor, Meade Harwell, turned me on to Bill Evans. I am not sure I understood any of the music, but it intrigued me, and led me down the path. One of the first albums I purchased was Affinity, largely a duet with Evans of course on piano, and Thielemans playing harmonica. The producers, apparently didn't trust in the duet idea, and insisted on a background band: Marc Johnson plays bass, and Eliot Zigmund is on drums. But Evans and Thielemans are in the forefront all the way. It is still one of my favorite disks. I can recall at will Thieleman's haunting, hollowed out melody on"Days of Wine and Roses," and "Jesus' Last Ballad." It's a gorgeous piece of jazz.

I just picked up another Thielemans harmonica disc (he also played guitar), Only Trust Your Heart. Fred Hersch plays piano, Marc Johnson and Harvie Swartz on bass, and Joey Baron on drums. It's delightful. Here is a cut from the disc. It's a Wayne Shorter composition, and Thielemans gets the steadily falling feeling perfectly.

Toots Thielemans/Speak No Evil/Only Trust Your Heart/1988
I found it on eMusic. You can also get it from Barnes and Noble. Enjoy.


  1. Does blogger have a tag cloud option? It would be a great way to navigate the blog and find old posts, especially as you add more content. Just a thought.

  2. Love Toots... I got to see him a couple years back... will look into the album with Bill Evans.

  3. Anon: I have no idea what a "tag cloud option" is, but I will look into it. Thanks for the suggestion.

    stratoz: I envy you for seeing Toots. Over course of my jazz fanhood, I have seen very little live music. You will not be disappointed by the toots/Bill Evans disc.

  4. Ken-- I will count it as a blessing for being located and having the means to see live music. Just saw Virginia Mayhew, there is my recommendation to you. off to check to see if I can find anything on-line from the Toots/Evans.