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Toots Thielemans: Google Doodle celebrates Belgian jazz musician’s 100th birthday



toots thielemans 100th birthday google doodle

Google Doodle celebrates the 100th birthday of Belgian jazz musician Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidor, Baron Thielemans, known professionally as Toots Thielemans, on April 29, 2022.

Who was Toots Thielemans?

Toots Thielemans

Toots Thielemans

Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidor, Baron Thielemans, known professionally as Toots Thielemans, was born on April 29, 1922, in Brussels, Belgium. From early on, Thielemans tracked down his euphoria in music, first playing the accordion at three years old and later learning harmonica and guitar.

Toots Thielemans was notable for his guitar and harmonica playing as well as his whistling. Thielemans was one of the best harmonica players of the 20th century. He worked as a bandleader, as a sideman, and has been on many film soundtracks. In 2009 he became NEA Jazz Master, the highest honor for a jazz musician in the United States. He is maybe most popular to the American public for whistling the melody in commercials for Old Spice cologne.

Toots Thielemans was generally known for his chromatic harmonica playing, as well as his guitar, whistling skills, and composing. As indicated by jazz historian Ted Gioia, his most significant contribution was in “championing the humble harmonica”, which Thielemans made into a “legitimate voice in jazz”. He eventually became the “preeminent” jazz harmonica player.

Thielemans began his career as a guitar player. In 1949 he joined a jam session in Paris with Sidney Bechet, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Max Roach, and others. In 1949 and 1950 he was on European tours with Benny Goodman. He made his first record in Paris with fellow band member, tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims. In 1951 he became a band member of the Bobbejaan Schoepen.

Toots Thielemans moved to the US in 1952. He was a member of Charlie Parker’s All-Stars and worked with Miles Davis and Dinah Washington. A jazz standard by Toots Thielemans is “Bluesette” where he involved whistling and guitar as one. First recorded by Toots in 1962, with words added by Norman Gimbel the song became a major hit across the world.

Following World War II, Toots Thielemans started his career as a full-time musician, inspired by jazz legends like Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt, and Benny Goodman. As destiny would have it, Thielemans played a show at a small New York jazz club, and Goodman’s representative was participating. At the point when Goodman later planned tours through Europe in 1949 and 1950, Thielemans was invited to play guitar with the band, kicking off his career.

Toots Thielemans’ first professional performances were with Benny Goodman’s band when they toured Europe in 1949 and 1950. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1951, becoming a citizen in 1957. From 1953 to 1959 he played with George Shearing and afterward led his groups on tours in the U.S. and Europe.

Over the years, Toots Thielemans played with legendary musicians like Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and George Shearing. It’s said that while touring with the George Shearing Quintet, Thielemans played a Rickenbacker guitar for a group containing a youthful John Lennon who was inspired by the two Toots and his instrument.

In 1961 Toots Thielemans recorded and performed live one of his compositions, “Bluesette”, which highlighted him playing guitar and whistling. During the 1970s and 1980s, he kept touring and recording, showing up with musicians.

In the mid-1960s, Thielemans composed and recorded a song called Bluesette, which he viewed as his signature work. After its release, it proceeded to become a jazz standard, covered by many jazz artists throughout the next decades.

Toots Thielemans likewise gave the soundtrack to various movies, TV shows, and commercials from the 60s to 90s. Regardless of whether you haven’t known about Toots Thielemans, there’s a nice opportunity you’ve heard his work, as he gave the harmonica solo heard during the notable Sesame Street theme song.

Toots Thielemans’ harmonica playing can likewise be heard in films like Midnight Cowboy, Jean de Florette, Sugarland Express, The Yakuza, Turkish Delight, The Getaway, French Kiss, and Dunderklumpen. His music was likewise in TV programs, including Sesame Street, the Belgian TV series Witse, and the Dutch TV series Baantjer. He made the music for the 1974 Swedish film Dunderklumpen!. He likewise voiced the animated character Pellegnillot. He whistled the Old Spice deodorant commercial during the 1970s and ’80s.

Toots Thielemans’ whistling and harmonica playing can be heard on Old Spice radio and TV commercials that have been made throughout the long term. During the 1980s he performed with bassist and composer/bandleader Jaco Pastorius.

In 1983 he was on Billy Joel’s album An Innocent Man, and his trademark harmonica can be heard on “Leave a Tender Moment Alone.” after a year, he showed up on the Julian Lennon melody “Too Late For Goodbyes” from the album Valotte.

In 1984, Toots Thielemans recorded the last album of Billy Eckstine (I Am A Singer). In 1998 he released a French-style album named “Chez Toots”. It included Les Moulins De Mon Coeur (The Mills of my Heart) highlighting guest singer Johnny Mathis.

Aside from his fame as a musician, Toots Thielemans was popular for his modesty and kind attitude. In 2001 Thielemans was recognized as a baron by King Albert II of Belgium.

Toots Thielemans’ harmonica theme song for the famous Sesame Street TV show was heard for 40 years. He frequently performed and recorded with Quincy Jones, who once referred to him as “one of the greatest musicians of our time.”

In 2009 Toots Thielemans was assigned a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts, the highest honor for a jazz musician in the United States.

Thielemans eventually retired from his jazz career in 2014 as one of the most adored harmonica players of all time. Toots Thielemans died two years after the fact on August 22, 2016.

Toots Thielemans Google Doodle

On April 29, 2022, Google featured a Doodle on its homepage for celebrating Toots Thielemans’ 100th Birthday.

The present Google Doodle — outlined by guest artist Melissa Crowton — hits the appropriate notes by celebrating Toots Thielemans’ contributions to the jazz world on what might be his 100th birthday celebration.

The Google Doodle shown in his honor includes a fabulously colorful and chaotic arrangement of jazz instruments, all over which are the letters of “Google.” At the center, in the spotlight, you can see Toots Thielemans focusing on playing his harmonica.

Toots Thielemans is generally viewed as an unmatched harmonica player and a true Jazz Master. He kept recording with different artists and performing publicly late into his life. After his passing, many gathered and exhibited his records, ticket stubs, and autographs while museums showed donated things and instruments from his personal collection.


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