Jazzcat | Genoa, Italy Italy | 11/16/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Extraordinary music is what is contained in this disc. That's for sure. But be aware that it is a romantic and intense ballad program the one contained here that's why I gave this cd only four stars. It could be a little heavy if you listen to it from its beginning to its end. But nevertheless this compact disc could easily be considered an extraordinary achievement. Toots Thielemans is truly one of the few Jazz greats still alive and well. I love him. He plays fantastic sublime melodic lines with his harmonica which has an unbelievable tender sound. No one on Earth plays the harmonica the way he does. He's unbelievable. I have several Toots's records where he improvises on fast tunes and he can blow every musician away. He's unbelievable. But here he choose a ballad program. Ballads which he plays with incredible tenderness and romanticism at a level only he can reach. The harmonica is the only instrument he plays here. Infact he's a very good bop guitarist (and an exceptional whistler too) but here he did concentrate only on the harmonica thing. This is a duo album so it is very intimate in its atmosphere. Toots's pal here is Kenny Werner a really gifted piano player which is a perfect companion for Toots in this ballad program. He plays grand piano but also a few keyboards here and there to add strings section. He improvise too obviously in a very nice manner ... the two seem telepatically linked. Really. A really strong album which to me has the only minus to be a strictly ballad one. With a bass player and a drummer and few fast tunes could be unreachable. But yes, you're right, that would be completly another project. For example recently I purchased "Just friends" another Toots album which is really really great. It is a collaboration between him Teupen and Kuhn. It is a more interesting program in my opinion and the line up is more entertaining too. Harp, harmonica, piano, doublebass and drums. The music is fantastic like in this cd but a little more varied .. Another fantastic one from Toots is "Live takes" which is on Amazon too. Anyway I enjoy this one very much too, don't get me wrong, maybe some tunes of it at a time. I'm not THAT romantic!! Just Joking! Toots rules !!!!!
If you are a Toots fan you'll like it
steve | Boston | 11/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is a wonderful soulful album, but would have been better if Kenny Werner played acoustic piano exclusively instead of synths on some tracks. There is another review of this album on the web which stated the same and I agree. Soft and soulful, I found it to be quite inspirational, since I enjoy playing the chromatic harmonica as a hobby. Toots has many imitators but he is the only one, and has stood the test of time. Blues fans might want to look elsewhere for their harmonica, e.g. Paul Delay."