Jazzitalia - Toots Thielmans at Blue Note with Kenny Werner, Oscar Castro-Neves, and Airto
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Toots Thielmans at Blue Note with Kenny Werner, Oscar Castro-Neves, and Airto

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Toots Thielmans on Harmonica
With
Kenny Werner
on Piano
Airto
on Percussion
Oscar Castro-Neves
on Guitar

Blue Note
131 West 3rd Street at Sixth Ave.
NYC, NY
212.475.8592
General Manager: Tom Bailey
Media Contact: Jonathan Kantor

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
New York City - March 5, 2010

What a treat to see Toots Thielemans performing again at almost 88. He was on stage for a huge audience of longtime fans, joined by Oscar Castro-neves on guitar, Kenny Werner on piano, and Airto on percussion. Tonight's theme was mostly Brazilian, and Oscar Castro-Neves began the second set with sultry swing and smooth bossa novas. "Gone with the Wind" soon followed, with Kenny Werner's seasoned accompaniment. Castro-Neves introduced a song he wrote for his daughter, with Toots Thielemans now onstage. Castro-Neves plays an invigorating guitar, and Toots' harmonica responded with clear, resonant harmonies. Bits of ballads were sewn in with improvisational flourish. Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Waters of March" followed, with Castro-Neves singing English lyrics while accompanying himself on guitar. What he lacked in tune he added in soul.

Chaplin's "Smile" brought wide smiles throughout the crowd, and Werner switched from piano to synthesizer for a string ensemble effect. Toots' harmonica solos yielded to Castro-Neves' guitar riffs. Although Blue Note was packed, the air was thick with silent anticipation. For everyone present, the moment was emotional and poignant. Jobim's "No More Blues", a samba, brought everyone back to Rio, and the mood switched to surreal and vibrant. Toots' long harmonica solo was enhanced by Airto on Latin percussion, punctuated by samba rhythms. The Club was dark, with dim stage lights, and photography was difficult, especially from my rear piano vantage point. Yet, a couple of dreamy images are below.


courtesy by Roberta Zlokower







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