Toots Thielemans Quartet With Oscar Castro-Neves, Airto Moreira And Kenny Werner Brings Brazilian-Tinged Jazz Mastery To The Performing Arts Series At The University Of Nevada


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Fresh from his 2006 star-studded career tribute in Carnegie Hall, 84-year-old harmonica genius Toots Thielemans delivers his Brazilian-tinged quartet extraordinaire--guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves, percussionist Airto Moreira and pianist Kenny Werner--for an evening of impeccable jazz mastery at the University of Nevada, Reno.

As part of its 2006-07 season, the University's Performing Arts Series presents the Toots Thielemans Quartet with Oscar Castro-Neves, Airto Moreira and Kenny Werner, performing Thursday, Nov. 9, 2006, at 7:30 p.m. in Nightingale Concert Hall.

Yet another jazz legend to astound audiences in Nightingale Concert Hall, Thielemans has created signature scores ("Midnight Cowboy," “Sesame Street," “Sugarland Express"), played alongside Benny Goodman, Charlie Parker, George Shearing, Natalie Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Joel and many others--and been called by Quincy Jones “...one of the greatest musicians of our time."

Born in Brussels in 1922, Thielemans began to show musical talent as early as the age of three, when he experimented with the accordion. By the time he was a teenager, he had become enamored of the harmonica, and by 1944, he was playing guitar in American GI hangouts in liberated Brussels. Fascinated with the American music scene, he took the name “Toots" after Toots Mondello, a saxophonist with Benny Goodman.

Thielemans worked hard in the late '40s to adapt the harmonica to bebop, and when he visited America for the first time in 1948 with trumpeter Howard McGhee's band, his exceptional playing won over audiences.

After touring Europe with Benny Goodman in 1950, Thielemans immigrated to the United States, where his playing impressed many, including pianist George Shearing, whose group Thielemans played with from 1951-1959. During that period, he began recording under his own name, culminating with the 1961 recording of his most enduring composition, “Bluesette," which has been recorded by scores of artists over the years.

Thielemans' inimitable sound can be heard on numerous movie soundtracks spanning three decades, and played a key role in Quincy Jones' influential big band recordings from 1969-1973. In 1978, Thielemans recorded the album “Affinity" with pianist Bill Evans, securing his reputation as a preeminent jazz artist.

Thielemans recorded with Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Peterson at the 1980 Montreaux Jazz Festival, and played on Ella Fitzgerald's Brazilian album, “Ella Abraca Jobim" that same year. Brazilian music had always fascinated Toots, around whom two successful Brazil Project albums were built. The albums featured composers and performers Ivan Lins, Djavan, Gilberto Gil, Milton Nascimento, Luis Bonfa and others.

Thielemans' current collaboration with internationally renowned musicians Oscar Castro-Neves (guitar), Airto Moreira (percussion) and Kenny Werner (piano) promises to deliver the virtuosity audiences have come to expect from the harmonica master along with a unique Brazilian flair for an unforgettable evening of Brazilian-tinged jazz brilliance in Nightingale Concert Hall.

“An extraordinary improviser who can make the harmonica sing like Bird...Nobody in Jazz plays melody with more grace and feeling than Toots Thielemans." --San Francisco Chronicle

“This unassuming Belgian harmonica master has wooed the world with a small instrument that, in his cupped hands at least, produces a hugely seductive sound." --The Washington Post

“'Toots' Thielemans is the fountainhead of the modern jazz harmonica." --The Boston Globe

For more about Toots Thielemans Quartet, visit http://www.tootsthielemans.com
Individual tickets are: Adult $24/Senior $20/Student $12/University student $7.

Tickets for all University of Nevada, Reno arts365 events, including the Performing Arts Series, may be purchased (without a convenience fee) in person at Lawlor Events Center, 1500 N. Virginia St., Reno, lower level entrance, Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sat. from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., and at the Church Fine Arts Building box office on campus, one hour prior to performances. Tickets are available (with a convenience fee) online at http://www.unr.edu/arts, or by calling 1-800-225-2277 (in California, 530-766-2277).

Free parking is available after 7 p.m. in the Brian J. Whalen Parking Complex north of the Church Fine Arts Building and in the Sierra Street Garage one block west of Virginia Street between 11th Street and College Drive. There is also a convenient patron drop-off adjacent to Nightingale Concert Hall on N. Virginia Street.

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