Toots Thielemans: Take Five
'Toots' Thielemans (harmonica)
East Coast West Coast (Private Music 01005-82120-2)
Composed by Paul Desmond.
Recorded: Los Angeles, released 1994
Rating: 88/100 (learn more)
In this West Coast-based lineup, a swinging duet intro by onetime Mahavishnu violinist Jerry Goodman and Joni Mitchell session guitarist Robben Ford lead into the swinging 5/4 Desmond/Brubeck classic. After Toots takes the signature lead line on his chromatic harmonica, a playful Goodman puts a new twist with his interpretation where he thinks the song could go. At times bluesy and at times sweet, it is unpredictably enchanting. The unique grouping of violin and harmonica makes this an unusual outing. The two instruments are rarely used in jazz, and almost never together; yet they seem perfectly paired to produce a fresh and compatible sound. A laid-back but thoughtful call and response between Toots and Ford follows. Throughout, the veteran rhythm team of bassist Haden and drummer Erskine keep the beat swinging forward unobtrusively. An original and enjoyable take on this musical stalwart.
Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello