90 yrs. (1CD 1DVD)

90 yrs. (1CD 1DVD)

Toots Thielemans European Quartet

Label: Challenge Jazz
Format: CD+DVD video
Barcode: 0608917016727
Catalog number: CHR 70167
Releasedate: 26-04-12
One of the world's famous jazz icons turns 90 years old this spring, in April! His anniversary will be celebrated in a grand manner: with a special 90YRS CD and a special bonus DVD with unique material! The only thing that Toots wants in his life, reaching this age, is to play! To him it is like breathing.
  • A special Anniversary CD/DVD for Toots' 90th birthday
  • Previously unissued recordings
  • The album contains live unissued recordings from Japan
  • The albums opens with the track 'Waltz for Sonny', a bow to Sonny Rollins, is somehow a musical brother of Toots’ most famous tune: Bluesette
  • The Dragon” is written by Toots for the Japanese movie Yasha in 1985
  • 'Old Friend' is a very special one song: Toots wrote this when he was young; almost like an harmonic exercise, yet so full of feeling.
  • Toots is a living jazz icon
  • 90yrs but still standing strong
  • Toots is the most famous harmonica player in the world
  • He is one of those rare musicians that are able to touch a wide range of listeners.
  • Thielemans workes with lots of famous people such as Quincy Jones, Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, Quincy Jones, Bill Evans, Pat Metheny, Paul Simon, Billy Joel and many others
  • A true star amongst stars
  • A man who - literally - breathes music
  • Besides this CD/DVD, also a luxury box will be released with an LP, the CD/DVD and a unique photobook of Toots!
“I feel best in that little space between a smile and a tear”

Last spring one of the world's famous jazz icons turned 90 years old!
His anniversary is honored in a very special manner: with the cd 90yrs and a special bonus DVD with a selection of unique material of his last concert in Japan.

This live CD, 90 yrs, contains unique and previously never issued recordings.
The tracks are recorded during the his latest tours around the globe.

Pianist Karel Boehlee, drummer Hans van Oosterhout and double-bass player Hein Van de Geyn support Toots in the passion which is for him like breathing: making music!
To play music the audience is the only thing Toots Thielemans want in his life.
The cd 90 yrs. is a brilliant registration of how Toots still plays for his fans.

The albums opens with the track 'Waltz for Sonny', a bow to Sonny Rollins, is somehow a musical brother of Toots’ most famous tune: Bluesette.
Next track “The Dragon” was written by Toots for the Japanese movie Yasha (1985), a nice, open and mysterious tune. Together with Mitsuhiko Saito he wrote the original soundtrack for that movie.

'Sno' Peas' is originally written by Phil Markowitz and made famous by the legendary pianist Bill Evans. Toots has played and recorded with Bill Evans in the time that he lived in the USA. 'Sno' Peas' has been on Toots’ list of favorites for a long time. An intricate harmonic set of changes, always a challenge.

'One Note Samba' and 'Wave' composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim are great examples of very intelligent, yet accesible writing. Obvious and singable to the superficial ear, and full of hidden details for the specialist. No wonder Toots loves playing these songs, they leave so much space for creativity and personal interpretation, yet remain always very clear in their own identity at the same time.

'Dat Mistige Rooie Beest' (That Misty Red Animal) was composed by the famous conductor Rogier van Otterloo for the dutch movie Turks Fruit (Turkish Fruit).
For the original movie sound track, Toots played his harmonica with the clearly recognizable sound.

Dave Brubeck’s “In Your Own Sweet Way” often kicked off the concerts they played over the years. A wonderful vehicle for improvisation with the 8-bar interlude always opening doors to new interpretations.

Toots often mentions his admiration for the greatest jazz musician ever: Louis Armstrong.
When the old harmonica player was just a young boy and heard the voice of Louis Armstrong he completely was infected by the jazz virus.
What A Wonderful World” is in fact a dedication to this personification of jazz.

Another very challenging harmonic, yet such lovely melodic song was written by Brazilian Luiz Eça: “The Dolphin”.

Toots not only worked with a lot of big jazz artists but also with pop musicians:
In the seventies Toots was invited to join Paul Simon on a long tour. His feature was on the wonderful song, written by Paul: “I Do It For Your Love”. Toots kept it on his repertoire since then.

'Old Friend', the last song on this CD is a very special one. Toots wrote this when he was young; almost like an harmonic exercise, yet so full of feeling. With adding strings by the Shinozaki Strings from Tokio, this is a heartfelt rendition of this special composition that Toots dedicated to his father.

Jean´Toots´ Thielemans was born in Brussels, Belgium in 1922. He immigrated to the USA in 1952. At the age of three he could already play the accordion and started playing harmonica as a hobby. Toots was `hooked´ on Jazz during German occupation and his first big idol was Django Reinhardt.

Another early influence was Charlie Parker. The first international breakthrough was him joining Benny Goodman on European concert tour in 1950. Other early US jobs: member of Charlie Parker's All Stars in Philadelphia; George Shearing Quintet; ...

Thielemans once started his career as a guitar player. In 1949 he joined a jam session in Paris with Sidney Bechet, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Max Roach and others. It all started there: after tje jam session in Paris he participated in European tours with Benny Goodman, making his first record in Paris with fellow band member, tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims. A year later he became a band member of the singer-songwriter and compatriot Bobbejaan Schoepen (at the time still as a guitarist). He moved to the US where he was a member of Charlie Parker's All-Stars and worked with Miles Davis and Dinah Washington. He played and recorded with Ella Fitzgerald, Jaco Pastorius, Peggy Lee, The George Shearing Quintet, Quincy Jones, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, The Happenings, Astrud Gilberto, Shirley Horn, Elis Regina and others.

A jazz standard composed by Toots Thielemans is "Bluesette" where he used whistling and guitar in unison. It was first recorded by Toots, now 50 years ago, with lyrics added by Norman Gimbel the song became a major worldwide hit. His harmonica playing can also be heard in film scores such as Midnight Cowboy, Jean de Florette, Sugarland Express, The Yakuza, Turkish Delight, The Getaway, French Kiss, Dunderklumpen, and in various TV programs, including Sesame Street, the Belgian TV series Witse, and the Dutch TV series Baantjer. He composed the music for the 1974 Swedish film Dunderklumpen! in which he also voiced the animated character Pellegnillot. His whistling and harmonica playing can be heard on Old Spice radio and TV commercials that have been made over the years.

During the 80's Toots performed with bassist and composer/bandleader Jaco Pastorius in ensembles ranging from duet to the Word of Mouth Big Band. In the early 80's he contributed to Billy Joel's album An Innocent Man, and his trademark harmonica can be heard on "Leave a Tender Moment Alone." A year later, he appeared on the Julian Lennon song "Too Late For Goodbyes" from the album Valotte. In 1984, he recorded the final album of Billy Eckstine (I Am A Singer), featuring very beautiful ballads and standards arranged and conducted by Angelo DiPippo.

The 90's Thielemans embarked on theme projects that included world music. In 1998 he released a French flavoured album titled "Chez Toots" that included the Les Moulins De Mon Coeur (The Mills of my Heart) featuring guest singer Johnny Mathis. Apart from his popularity as an accomplished musician, he is well liked for his modesty and kind demeanor. In his native Belgium, he is also popular for describing himself as a Brussels "ket", which means "street kid" in old Brussels slang. He received a joint honorary doctorate from the Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium) and in 2001 Thielemans was ennobled a baron by King Albert II of Belgium. In 2005 he was nominated for the title of The Greatest Belgian. In the Flemish version he ended 20th place, in the Walloon version he ended 44th place. In October 2008, he was honored with the 2009 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Fellowship. On 23 January 2009, he joined Philip Catherine on stage at the Liberchies church (Belgium) in memory of the 100th anniversary of Django Reinhardt's birth.

Some more successes of Toots Thielemans:
  • Toots composed the famous "Bluesette" in 1962
  • Originated new sound : Whistling and guitar in unison
  • Whistler for commercials : Best known "Old Spice"
  • Harmonica soloist for film scores: Midnight Cowboy, The Getaway, Sugarland Express, Cinderella Liberty, Turks Fruit, Jean de Florette,....
  • Concerts and recordings with names like George Shearing, Ella Fitzgerald, Quincy Jones, Bill Evans, Jaco Pastorius, Natalie Cole, Pat Metheny, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, ...
  • Harmonica Soloist - TV : Sesame Street
  • Perennial winner of Down Beat readers and critics poll "miscellaneous instruments"