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Top class harmonica player in the mood for jazz

While the long-awaited Herbie Hancock's concert is ready to captivate Hong Kong, another concert in the "Jazz Up" series will be staged soon.

World-class jazz harmonica player Toots Thielemans will join pianist Kenny Werner to give a not-to-be-missed performance at 8pm on November 1 (Monday) at the Concert Hall, Hong Kong City Hall.

Toots Thielemans was born in Brussels, Belgium, in 1922. His nickname "Toots" was after musicians Toots Mondello and Toots Camarata. Thielemans played accordion at three years of age and later started playing harmonica as a hobby. He toured Europe in 1950 with an all-star band under the leadership of Benny Goodman. In 1952, he moved to the United States and was discovered by pianist George Shearing who invited him to join his quintet in 1953. After six successful years with Shearing, Thielemans founded a couple of swing and bebop quartets under his own name and in 1962 he composed the well-known "Bluesette", now a musical evergreen.

Setting out on a busy career as a freelance musician, Thielemans worked with major stars of jazz and pop like Quincy Jones, Bill Evans, Natalie Cole, Pat Metheny, Paul Simon and Billy Joel. His harmonica sounds are also featured on the soundtracks of famous movies like "Midnight Cowboy", "The Getaway", "Sugarland Express" and "Cinderella Liberty" and also the theme tune to the children's show "Sesame Street".

Born in 1951 in the United States, Kenny Werner recorded a single with a 15-piece orchestra and appeared on television playing stride piano at 11. While still in high school, Werner attended the Manhattan School of Music and became a concert piano major upon graduation. He felt the pull of jazz and then went to the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

In 1981, Werner recorded his own solo album of original compositions entitled "Beyond the Forest of Mirkwood" and formed his first trio with bassist Ratzo Harris and drummer Tom Rainey. That trio was generally acknowledged as being the most creative, intense and innovative heard in a long time. From the mid-90s until now, Werner most often plays in duet with Toots Thielemans or performs his own music mostly with his current trio featuring Ari Honig on drums and Johannes Wiedenmueller on bass. Most recently he is performing his works for jazz orchestra, orchestra and other ensembles. He has been invited to classical festivals to play his music and write for those various ensembles.

Tickets at $300, $220 and $120 are available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. 10% discount applies to Friends of LCSD performing venues.

For programme enquiries, call 2268 7321 or visit . Ticketing enquiries and reservations can be made on 2734 9009 and credit card telephone bookings on 2111 5999. Tickets can also be booked through .

Ends/Monday, September 20, 2004
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