Toots, 91, calls it quits



Toots-Thielemans-6Toots Thielemans, the Belgian harmonica virtuoso, cancelled a concert in Antwerp last night. It was his second stand-down in three months and he decided it’s time to retire.

He earned his greatest fame on the soundtracks of Midnight Cowboy and Jean de Florette.

Ah, bye-bye, blackbird.


photo courtesy



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  • Toots made magic with his harmonica. As a tribute to him, I will buy a harmonica this week end and learn how to play it. My goal is to play the Mendelssohn violin Concerto on it.

  • This is a fine tribute to one of my favorite musicians. I did not realized he played on the “Jean de Florette” soundtrack. That gives me a good reason to watch that fine movie for the third time.

  • Not only is he pretty unique on his instrument and genre but led an unbelievably productive career. I know of no followers. I am sure he had lots of fun and made others happy playing.

  • Toots” playing sends chills up my spine; all of this with an instrument that fits into one’s pocket and one can play underneath the bridges and the arches when one is down and out. Try fitting a double-bass or grand piano into your pocket!

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