Whistling Through the Pearly Gates


Heaven has a new angel, and Jesus can this one whistle a tune.

Belgian jazz legend Toots Thielemans has passed away. Just yesterday, I was online checking the dates of the Toots Thielsmans Jazz Festival which takes place annually at La Hulpe, Belgium. I was hoping to attend next summer, and wondered if Toots would still be able to perform his magic.

Over his 94 years, Toots gave the world some truly beautiful music, including his own composition “Bluesette” – the jazzy waltz that became his signature tune (hear below). He was a tasty guitar player, a harmonica virtuoso, and the best whistler ever to pucker-up and blow.

Jean-Baptiste Thielemans was heard on so many classic songs, including the award-winning theme from the film Midnight Cowboy. He played in both Benny Goodman’s and Charlie Parker’s bands, and on recordings by Edith Piaf, Peggy Lee, and Billy Joel (“Leave a Tender Moment Alone”)

Grammy “Legend Award” winner Quincy Jones has said, “Toots is one of the greatest musicians of our time. He goes for the heart and makes you cry.”

Toots reached millions with his music, but perhaps touched the most little ears with his harmonica lead on the groovy theme from Sesame Street (hear this below.)

Rest in peace, and for your music – merci Monsieur Toots.


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