The legendary harmonica master Toots Thielemans is widely written and talked about. Therefore, I shall attempt to concentrate on the music. While I can’t come up with anyth…
The legendary harmonica master Toots Thielemans is widely written and talked about. Therefore, I shall attempt to concentrate on the music. While I can’t come up with anything more profound about his reputation, suffice it to say that this CD is class all the way.
It opens with the Gershwin medley, "I Loves You Porgy/Summertime." While the first portion is sweet and sensitive, the group livens up to a true jazz statement. The strong piano solos, bass and rhythms bring a special sassiness. They even borrow a little from "Milestones," the ultimate of cool. From that, the track settles into "Summertime," and closes like a champion winning in a favorite sport.
"Comecar de Novo," is quite beautiful and represents a softer side of Brazilian music, the ballad. Filled with emotion and intensity, Thielemans exhibits a quiet strength when he plays. At the next turn, Thielemans strikes the melancholy chord in "Hard To Say Good-bye." A lilting piano solo that drives the point home gently follows him.
Thielemans maintains the beauty of the soul of the music he’s chosen. One cannot underestimate the tenderness displayed. It’s obvious why Thielemans has been lauded by so many greats in the music industry. So many of us are grateful for this dimension of an instrument used primarily for country, and humor. If you’re in need of peace, this is something you should own. "Stardust" is perhaps one of the most tender tracks from the whole CD, but "Body and Soul" and "I Do It For Your Love," pack a little more punch and varying moods to boot.
We get a really different vibe in "Three Views of a Secret," with some jammin’ keyboard and drums that build up, climax and mellow out to a very smooth groove. The romance is alive and well with "All The Way," but that could be said about the entire CD, really. "That Misty Red Beast," closes the CD with a variety of moods and textures; soft but increases with into a festive celebration of sound.
This is some of the best soft jazz I’ve heard in a long time. There are no irritating wails, no showoffs, just good strong, yet tender playing by this harmonica legend and his ensemble of worthy musicians. Let’s give another toast to Toots. RAISE THEM HIGH and take it all in!