Jean Baptiste Thielemans, 29 April 1922, Brussels, Belgium. A child prodigy, Thielemans played the accordion at the age of three (a home-made version; a real one would have considerably outweighed him), switching to harmonica in his mid-teens. A few years later he added the guitar to his instrumental roll-call and also became an accomplished whistler. The guitar apart, Thielemans chosen instruments were not especially suited to jazz, but he displayed enough invention and assurance to be hired by Benny Goodman for a European tour in 1950 and by George Shearing in 1953 for a spell in his quintet that lasted over five years.
In the 60s his popularity increased with a successful recording of his own composition, Bluesette, and he worked frequently in clubs in Europe and the USA (to which he had immigrated in 1952) and at international festivals. His activity continued throughout the following two decades and he played with...
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