Tribute: Toots Thielemans

Email a Friend
 Toots Thielemans, harmonica, performs at the North Sea Jazz Festival on July 13th 2002 in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidor – aka Toots Thielemans, was a jazz harmonica player, guitarist – and whistler! Originally, he never thought he could make a living as a musician – much less, playing the harmonica! And so he’d tried for a degree in mathematics. As he told Marian McPartland once: “Being a musician was not really a profession, so you needed to try to get a diploma. But Louis Armstrong changed all that.” And Toots would prove the harmonica to be far more than the toy it had been considered by many. He died in his sleep at the age of 94. Leonard spoke with him about his craft in March of 2006.