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#1 Toots Thielemans

How would you rank

Toots Thielemans?

  • HIGHER
  • APPROPRIATE
  • LOWER

Why Toots Thielemans?

Toots Thielemans (born in Belgium on April 29, 1922) is arguably one the greatest harmonica players of all time. Credited with playing some of the best jazz ever produced, he has played with all the jazz greats of the twentieth century, from Ella Fitzgerald to Miles Davis and so many more. His harmonica has been featured in a myriad of film scores, including “Midnight Cowboy” and “Sesame Street.” Here’s “Bluesette,” with Stevie Wonder.

Comments (24)

  • Gerry Hundt

    |

    This is a fun list, but I’m fairly certain there’s room for Gary Primich and Jim Liban.

    Reply

    • JP Allen

      |

      Right on Gerry! Keep those suggestions coming everybody!

      Reply

    • Ed svetlik

      |

      I have a freind that lives in Fresno California his name is John cliffton had a band called mofo party band blues band and is a very good harmonica player check him out and let me know what you think

      Reply

      • JP Allen

        |

        Thanks Ed, checked him out on youtube…this guy is smokin’!! jp

        Reply

  • clive mellor

    |

    impossible to judge. lots of this is just to do with who’s most famous, and since americans rarely look outside their own borders, that rather limits what the results might be ! besides, comparing classical to blues to irish is inappropriate, nevertheless i got to hear a few people i’ve not heard before, ta.

    Reply

    • JP Allen

      |

      Thanks for your feedback Clive!

      Reply

  • Marshall Jones

    |

    Thanks for this list! Incredible and I learned of many great players I was unaware of. While I agree there should be room for Gary Primich, and I disagreed with several of the placements, that’s what opinions are for!

    I should thank you for filling up my YouTube Harmonica playlist but should chide you for “wasting” about 1 hour and $50 on iTunes 🙂

    Great work and a lot of fun. I’m inspired to go play…

    Reply

    • JP Allen

      |

      Yea Marshall…fun and inspiring is what it’s all about!

      Reply

  • Rob

    |

    Joe Filisko should be much higher because of his on-going contributions to the harmonica world. Love seeing Grant Dermody get some well-deserved recognition. But, was shocked to not see Buddy Greene mentioned. How many harp players have played at Carnegie Hall?

    Reply

    • JP Allen

      |

      You’re right Rob. We missed Buddy Greene somehow. jp

      Reply

    • Reese

      |

      Yes, Buddy Greene for his talent, but especially for telling the world about Jesus with his harmonica.

      Reply

  • wence yingling

    |

    how about my dear friend Pierre Beauregard(great great grandson of the confederate general). he should be on that list somewhere!

    Reply

    • JP Allen

      |

      Thanks for your input Wence…wish we could fit all the greats. jp

      Reply

  • Bill Neil

    |

    You ought to know already what I think about Toots
    The MASTER>

    Reply

  • Pam Lee

    |

    I was surprised that Buddy Green didn’t make the list.
    This was a fun way to pass the time and inspire me to be more diligent in my practice.
    Thanks for doing this, JP.

    Reply

    • JP Allen

      |

      Yes, I think we need to make a top 101 list. Enjoy. jp

      Reply

  • Barry Campbell

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    Thanks, gives me lots to check out! Did I miss Terry McMillan? Love his playing….

    Reply

  • Pat O'Brien

    |

    What about Alan Wilson of Canned Heat ? During his short life he was considered to be one of the top harp players on the planet. Although Canned Heat was primarily known as a boogie band they had a terrific grasp of the blues. This especially shines on the Hooker’ n Heat album on which Al Wilson’s harp playing is showcased . John Lee Hooker says about him ” he must have listened to my albums all his life, I don’t know how he follow me but he do ” . Alan Wilson inspired me to learn to play.

    Reply

  • Prasanth

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    What about you JP? You’ve thought millions?.. Shouldn’t you be in? 😉

    Reply

  • Philip Jackson

    |

    A really good job and a most stimulating list drawn from a range of styles. Of course you could question everything – however I do think Paul Butterfield is way too low in the ranking. I also concur about Alan Wilson (above).
    Will the rankings change with the popular vote?
    Incidentally I am not Norton Buffalo even though we share the same birth name! 🙂

    Reply

  • virgmck

    |

    The Young and Talented Nic Clark.

    Reply

  • paul

    |

    The guy playing with too slim and the tail draggers is one of the best I’ve
    heard.

    Reply

  • Dave Billing

    |

    You missed Paul Delay brilliant chromatic and diatonic stylist. Original compositions and unique vocalist.

    Reply

    • JP Allen

      |

      Thanks for the tip, I’ll check him out. jp

      Reply

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