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Toots Thielemans: 90 Yrs.

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Arguably the most recognizable stylist on the harmonica, 90-year-old jazz icon Toots Thielemans continues to tour around the world-this recording is culled from a series of live dates during the past five years-and he hasn’t lost the boyish sense of wonder that has always defined his playing. Thielemans is essentially a romantic: When he interprets an old chestnut like “What a Wonderful World,” he clearly believes the lyrics.

These recordings feature Thielemans in a working quartet with three collaborators from the Netherlands, pianist Karel Boehlee, bassist Hein Van de Geyn and drummer Hans van Oosterhout. The Thielemans original “Waltz for Sonny,” a tribute to Sonny Rollins, can be viewed as a companion piece to “Bluesette,” Thielemans’ most famous composition. It begins with a rubato section that flows seamlessly into an uptempo waltz, and features strong solos by Thielemans, Boehlee and Van de Geyn, who takes an obvious cue from Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen.

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