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Toots Thielemans in New York in 2008

In Memory Of Jazz Harmonica Master Toots Thielemans

Toots Thielemans, one of the only musicians to have a successful career as a jazz harmonica player, performing with greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Benny Goodman, died on Monday in Brussels. He was 94 and lived in La Hulpe, a Brussels suburb.

Although his name was well known in the jazz world, it was relatively unknown to the general public; his playing, on the other hand, was virtually ubiquitous.

It can be heard on the soundtracks of movies like “Midnight Cowboy” and “The Getaway.” It was featured in television commercials and on records by, among many others, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Quincy Jones, who once called Mr. Thielemans “one of the greatest musicians of our time.”

Read more at The New York Times.

Toots Thielemans played on Billy Joel’s “Leave A Tender Moment Alone” from the album An Innocent Man. Here is their 1984 live performance together at Wembley Arena in London, followed by the album version.

Photo by Nicholas Roberts for The New York Times