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Toots Thielemans

It's near summer's end, the Friday night of Labor Day weekend. We're in the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. Ozawa Hall is an elegant structure -- a gorgeous barn -- in a woodsy setting.

And it's full, with many more people under the trees on the lawn. This audience will become a fifth member of the quartet on JazzSet.

Toots Thielemans at piano, playing a harmonica. Photo by Dimitri Tolstoi

Leader Toots Thielemans from Belgium is the man who made the harmonica a jazz instrument, and tonight he's playing it with his Brazilian-flavored band.
His guitarist, Oscar Castro-Neves from Brazil, has just put out his own new CD, Playful Heart. Pianist Kenny Werner brings a synth to his gigs with Toots, and it's Kenny who moves the show forward, nudging musically from time to time.

Tonight's special guest is an inspired choice -- the percussionist Airto, born in Brazil. Airto had his own radio show before he was even a teenager!

Airto worked with Miles Davis for two years, and is on the Miles recordings Live/Evil, Live at the Fillmore, On the Corner, The Isle of Wight and Bitches Brew.

Toots' most famous composition is "Bluesette." He says that he first titled it "Bluette." French violinist Stephane Grappelli suggested adding that "s."

"How High the Moon" by Hamilton/Lewis
"Felicia e Bianca," by Oscar Castro-Neves (a piece for his daughters)
"Joana Francesa" by Chico Buarque
"Futebol" by Chico Buarque
Oscar Castro-Neves sings "Waters of March" by Jobim
"Chega de Saudades" by Jobim
"The Dolphin" by Luiz Eca
Frank Sinatra medley of "All the Way" and "My Way," arranged by Kenny Werner
"God Bless America" by Irving Berlin
"Bluesette" by Toots Thielemans

Jazz 88 WBGO in Newark and WGBH Radio Boston co-produced a live broadcast from Tanglewood 2005, featuring this Toots Thielemans concert -- almost two hours!
From WGBH, thanks to Jon Solins, Steve Charbonneau and Gary Mott. Broadcast mix by Antonio Oliart-Rose, assistant Andrew Parrella.
From WBGO and JazzSet, Duke Markos mixed the music with assistance from Yujin Cha and Jason O’Connell.
Our producer is Becca Pulliam. JazzSet executive producer is Thurston Briscoe III.

Copyright 2007 NPR