The harmonica is not a popular jazz instrument and since the mid-50's Toots Thielmans has been regarded as "a very big fish in a very small pond." Chez Toots stands as his tribute to the songs and sounds of the city of Paris. Toots invited some special guest vocalists to join the rhythm section of Bert van den Brink (piano), Hein Van de Geyn (bass) and Andre Ceccarelli (drums) and they all turn in pleasant, if not terribly exciting, performances. Diana Krall interprets Edith Piaf's classic La Vie En Rose; Shirley Horn is effective on La Valse Des Lilas while Johnny Mathis is only adequate on the standard Windmills Of Your Mind. While much of Chez Toots falls just this side of "easy listening," it's still a warm and nostalgic homage to a place Toot's is obviously very fond of. 3-5 stars.
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.