Inside Toots Thielemans Jazz career in Google Doodle to honor harmonica legend

Some days, Google adds an interactive image to its logo to celebrate a specific day, event, achievement, or person.

It’s called Google Doodle and it’s a temporary private mod that only lasts for 24 hours, until that day ends.

Today’s doodles are a colorful piece of art honoring a person named Toots Thielemans, but who is it? Read on to find out…

Who Was Tots Thielmans?

Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidore, Baron Tillmanns, known as Tots Thielmann or just “Tots”, was a famous Belgian jazz musician.

Born in 1922 in Brussels, he was known for playing the harmonica, but also playing guitar, whistling tunes and composition.

The musician was considered one of the best harmonica players of all time and toured the world.

He died in his sleep in a hospital in August 2016 at the age of 94 years old.

Photo by J Knibs/Getty Images

Within his career

As a child, Tots played the accordion before learning the harmonica and guitar.

However, his music career really took off in the late forties, when he was about twenty years old.

During a visit to America in 1948, jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman’s agent heard him playing at a small music club in New York and invited him to join his band while they were touring Europe.

He accepted the invitation and joined their tours in 1949 and 1950 before making his first record with band member and saxophonist Zoot Sims.

Photo by Metronome / Getty Images

In 1951, he toured with Bobbejaan Schopen before moving to the United States in 1952 and becoming a member of Charlie Parker’s All-Stars.

He worked with Miles Davis, Minaj Washington and George Shearing and then became a US citizen in 1957.

Tots continued to perform throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, touring with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Sarah Vaughan, Billy Joel, and Natalie Cole.

He has released several singles and albums and has appeared on several movie soundtracks.

The jazz icon played the harmonica well into the 2000s before announcing his retirement on March 12, 2014.

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Tots and John Lennon

In 1960, while playing in Hamburg on tour with George Schering, John Lennon noticed Tots playing Rickenbacker’s guitar and was very impressed.

“If he was good enough for the Thielemans, he was good enough for me,” he famously said before making Rickenbacker world famous in The the Beatles.

In 2002, the harmonica legend presented her recorded version of John Lennon imagine.

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