310

Toots Thielemans: One More For The Road

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
Toots Thielemans: One More For The Road The greatest harmonica player of the 20th Century, Toots Thielemans, is showing no signs of slowing down at 84 years of age, still in demand at jazz festivals and concert venues throughout the world. One More For The Road finds him accompanied by strings and a star lineup of singers who interpret the songbook of Harold Arlen.

Songs like "Come Rain Or Come Shine, "Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea, "One For My Baby (And One More For The Road), "Stormy Weather, "It's Only A Paper Moon and "Over The Rainbow are part of an impressive resume which puts Arlen up there with the Gershwins as one of the great American songwriters, and in the process these pieces have provided countless jazz musicians with timeless standards for their repertoire.

The two most swinging numbers, "Come Rain Or Come Shine and "Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea, showcase vocalists Lizz Wright and Madeleine Peyroux. The former excels, her smoky vocals bringing sensuousness to this classic, whilst the latter, well, sounds a lot like Billie Holiday. And Beth Hart, who interprets "I Gotta Right to Sing The Blues, sounds more like Billie Holiday than Lady Day herself. Is that a bad thing? After all, both Peyroux and Hart have voices to die for. On the other hand, there is a lot to be said for originality, and the songs which work best are those where the singer's own voice comes through: Trinjntje Oosterhuis on "I Wonder What Became Of Me, Laura Fygi on "It's Only A Paper Moon, the aforementioned Lizz Wright and Silje Nergaard on "Last Night When We Were Young.

The results, then, are a little uneven. Jamie Cullum makes a good fist of one of Frank Sinatra's old favorites, "One More For My Baby," but I just can't picture him propping up the bar and bending Joe the barman's ear while playing with the ice cubes in his whiskey. "That Old Black Magic, one of three instrumentals which allow Thielemans to extend himself, sounds a little like a Henri Mancini soundtrack for a '60s Mediterranean film, the result of over-orchestration.

And what about Thielemans himself? Quincy Jones described him as "one of the greatest musicians of our age, and he is in truly fine form on this disc. He has the range and expression to rival any horn player, and while his records are sometimes labeled "easy listening," this does him a disservice—as did those who once described early Ahmad Jamal as "cocktail music." His solos lie in that zone which he himself describes as "between a smile and a tear," and are a joy to hear.

This record serves primarily to remind us of the importance of Harold Arlen in both popular music and jazz, twenty years after his death, and once again, to remind us of the importance of Toots Thielemans. Seeing the harmonica player in concert is one of the most beautiful, moving musical experiences one can have.


Track Listing: Come Rain Or Come Shine; Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea; Last Night When We Were Young; Ill Wind; One For My Baby Iand one more for the road); I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues; I Wonder What Became Of me; That Old Black Magic; This Time The Dream's On Me; Stormy Weather; It's Only A Paper Moon; Over The Rainbow.

Personnel: Toots Thielemans: harmonica. Lizz Wright, Madeleine Peyroux, Silje Nergaard, Jamie Cullum, Beth Hart, Trijntje Oosterhuis, Till Bronner, Oleta Adams, Laura Fygi: vocals.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Verve Music Group | Style: Vocal


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Live At Blues Alley" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Blues Alley
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 4, 2016
Read "Second Impression" CD/LP/Track Review Second Impression
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 14, 2016
Read "Zanshin" CD/LP/Track Review Zanshin
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 3, 2016
Read "This is Life" CD/LP/Track Review This is Life
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 29, 2016
Read "Reflections" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Andrew Luhn
Published: March 23, 2016
Read "All These Hands" CD/LP/Track Review All These Hands
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!