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Album Review

This 1997 CD reissues harmonica great Toots Thielemans' Choice LP Captured Alive and adds previously unreleased versions of "Stella By Starlight" and Toots' "Revol" from the same session. Thielemans, who single-handedly turned the chromatic harmonica into a jazz instrument (his only predecessor was Larry Adler, who legitimized the instrument by often playing classical music), shows on such numbers as "Giant Steps," "Airegin," and "Days of Wine and Roses" that the harmonica is a viable device for jazz improvising. Toots is assisted by the great pianist Joanne Brackeen (who contributed "Images" and "Snooze"), bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Freddie Waits. A particularly strong outing that can serve as a perfect introduction to the harmonica wizard.

Biography

Born: 29 April 1922 in Brussels, Belgium

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Toots Thielemans virtually introduced the chromatic harmonica as a jazz instrument. In fact, beginning in the mid-'50s, he never had a close competitor. Thielemans simply played the harmonica with the dexterity of a saxophonist and even successfully traded off with the likes of Oscar Peterson. Thielemans' first instrument was the accordion, which he started when he was three. Although he started playing the harmonica when he was 17, Thielemans' original reputation was made as a guitarist who was...
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