Baron Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidor “Toots” Thielemans (born Brussels, April 29, 1922) is a Belgian jazz artist well known for his guitar, harmonica playing, and also for his highly accomplished professional whistling. He is often credited by jazz aficionados and jazz critics as being among the greatest jazz hamonica players of the century.
Thielemans 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. In 1951 he went on tour with Bobbejaan Schoepen.
He moved to the US in 1952 where he was a member of Charlie Parker’s All-Stars. He played and recorded with names like Ella Fitzgerald, The George Shearing Quintet, Quincy Jones, Bill Evans, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Astrud Gilberto, Elis Regina and others.
A jazz standard by Toots Thielemans is “Bluesette” where he used whistling and guitar in unison. Bluesette became a major 1962 world-wide hit for him and this still much beloved and requested piece has been re-recorded by him and commercially released on records/CDs many times over both in various studio versions and live on-stage performances performed in several different countries. Wikipedia
My personal favorites from Toots are The Brasil Project (1992) & The Brasil Project vol 2. (1993)
Rather than going on, let Toots’ music speak for itself…
And young players are keeping his music alive – here a band from Canada – Equilibria Quintet with Damien Masterson playing Toots’ Bluesette