Down Beat - 7/02, p.634 stars out of 5
- "...The 2 musicians soar together and scammper adroitly....it's a real pleasure hearing Toots in the intimate setting of a duo with brainy but soul-deep pianist Kenny Werner..."
JazzTimes - 6/02, p.98
"...Regardless of what you call this music, it speaks of beauty, refinement and perfect taste..."
Personnel: Toots Thielemans (harmonica); Kenny Werner (piano, keyboards).
Recorded live at Biblo Jazz Club, Kalmthout, Belgium on June 13, 14, and 15, 2001. Includes liner notes by Kenny Werner.
"Inspiration" was nominated for the 2003 Grammy Awards for Best Instrumental Composition.
Personnel: Kenny Werner (piano, keyboards); Toots Thielemans (harmonica).
Audio Mixers: Daniel Leon; Kenny Werner.
Recording information: Biblo, Kalmthout, Belgium (06/13/2001-06/15/2001).
Photographer: Robert Becker.
The pairing of Toots Thielemans and Kenny Werner for several live duo concerts in mid-June of 2001 (although there is no audible audience response) is a dream come true for fans of ballads. Whether Werner sticks exclusively to piano or adds the lush strings from his synthesizer as well, he provides the perfect complement to the always lyrical harmonica of the veteran Thielemans. Although Thielemans was 79 at the time of this recording, he has lost none of the daredevil spirit he has demonstrated in the past on up-tempo romps such as those through an exciting "Autumn Leaves" or capturing the emotion within a gem such as Charlie Chaplin's bittersweet "Smile." The songs include beautiful interpretations of classic jazz compositions by Herbie Hancock ("Dolphin Dance"), Chick Corea ("Windows"), and Bill Evans (a medley of the moody "Time Remembered" and the upbeat "Very Early"). Medley salutes to Frank Sinatra, Michel Legrand, and music from Disney movies (a medley of "When You Wish Upon a Star" and "Someday My Prince Will Come") also earn high marks. Too many releases of this nature turn to mush because of repeated overdubs and splicing in of additional keyboard parts; the live nature of the recordings and the inspiration provided by the various audiences (even if listeners never hear them clap, cough, sneeze, or talk) clearly brings out the best in both Thielemans and Werner's playing. This warrants a follow-up date. ~ Ken Dryden