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Toots Thielemans, 91, Announces Retirement

Jazz’s most celebrated harmonica player cites health issues

Toots Thielemans

Toots Thielemans, who is generally considered the greatest jazz harmonica player of all time, has announced his retirement. At age 91, said the Belgian musician in a statement, he no longer feels he is capable of giving his all in performances and “does not want to disappoint my fans.” Thielemans was recently forced to cancel two concerts due to health issues.

An NEA Jazz Master, Thielemans also recorded music for films, TV programs and commercials in addition to releasing albums under his own name and serving as a sideman to a virtual who’s-who of jazz greats.

Originally Published