Stamp of the Month: April 2022

Toots Thielemans

The Belgian jazz musician Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidor Thielemans was born on April 29, 1922 in Brussels. He died in his hometown on August 22, 2016. April 2022 will be his 100th birthday.
Under his stage name “Toots” Thielemans was an outstanding representative of modern jazz. He learned to play the accordion and guitar and eventually discovered the chromatic harmonica.

Belgium 21.3.2022
Like no other, he helped the harmonica to gain respect in jazz. As early as 1950 he was a member of the “All-Star Band” on Benny Goodman’s European tour. Later he made music with, among others, Charlie Parker, Bill Evans, Ella Fitzgerald, Quincy Jones, Paul Simon and Billy Joel. In the 1980s he was a frequent member of the all-star cast around Dizzy Gillespie. He can also be heard with his instrument in the soundtrack of several film scores such as “Asphalt Cowboy”, “The Getaway” or “French Kiss”.
One of his most famous works as a composer is the background music for the children’s television series “Sesame Street”.
In 2004, Toots Thielemans was honored with the German Jazz Trophy for his life’s work, and in 2009 he received the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship, the highest award for jazz musicians in the USA. In 2001, King Albert II of Belgium made him a baron.

Belgium 18.11.2000 

The video shows Toots Thielemans at the “Night of the Proms” 2009 in Rotterdam. He performs his jazz standard “Bluesette”. This title was composed and first recorded in 1961 and has since been covered by more than 100 artists.