Personnel: Toots Thielemans (harmonica); Fred Hersh (piano); Marc Johnson (bass); Joey Baron (drums).
Recorded live in Belgium in 1986. Includes liner notes by Toots Thielemans and Folon.
Personnel: Fred Hersch (piano); Marc Johnson (bass instrument); Joey Baron (drums).
This 1986 concert by harmonica master Toots Thielemans in his hometown of Brussels, Belgium is one of the hidden gems in his vast discography. On Do Not Leave Me, he is accompanied by a superb rhythm section consisting of lyrical pianist Fred Hersch, gifted bassist Marc Johnson, and tasteful drummer Joey Baron. The trio starts a long Miles Davis medley with a brief interpretation of "Blue in Green," with the leader making a delayed entrance before launching into a lengthy exploration of "All Blues." Thielemans' brilliant effort in finding new ways to approach "Stardust" is amazing, while "Autumn Leaves" mixes waltz lines with an explosive character at times. Thielemans switches to guitar for his signature tune "Bluesette," in which the audience cheerfully whistles along with the group for a time before the famous whistler himself takes over. Unfortunately, this 2005 Milan edition still has some of the packaging problems of earlier versions, misspelling one song title and a composer's name, while completely omitting the presence of "All Blues." In any case, the music on this live CD will be of great interest to anyone who enjoys Toots Thielemans. ~ Ken Dryden