Frank Vaganée of Toots Thielemans: “He played Christmas a song on the phone’

Director of the Brussels Jazz Orchestra and jazzsaxofonist Frank Vaganée will Toots Thielemans remember it as a particularly warm man: “He was deeply committed to young musicians.’

© Belga

It is by now close to thirty years ago, that Frank Vaganée the late Toots Thielemans for the first time met. “I was still living at home and remind me that my mother called out to me as Toots Thielemans on the phone hung up’, explains Vaganée. ‘Then you stand perplexed. He asked me if I would be interested to play in a live radio show. Toots asked me immediately at my ease by asking what pieces I most wanted to play – he was deeply committed to young musicians. It was no task for him to share his knowledge with them.”

‘On hearing of his death verschoot I can’t. If someone is 94 years old, do you expect that halvelings, but if it effectively happens is that some swallowing.’

The director of the Brussels Jazz Orchestra praise the musical talent of the jazz musician: “He brought jazz to a wider audience through his way of playing. And óok by his instrumentkeuze, mouth-organ, what is not obvious.”


‘Toots pressed his stamp on his music because he has a certain sound could create a sensitive nerve got hit with the public. He was a master of it. What is Toots Thielemans, as no other could, was emotion on the stage and make a connection with his listeners. He remained constantly high integrity.’

The musicians were several times on stage together, indicates Vaganée. “One of the most memorable performances is the opening concert of the Jazz Middelheim festival in 2001. That was legendary.’

In addition to their professional contact, spoke the musicians meet each other also outside the hours. “He called and always around Christmas and new year to our family is a good year to wish and played a song on the harmonica on the phone. Toots was a very warm person. There was more than the great musician that he was.”


See also:

‘Toots Thielemans was so much more than the sweet grandpa who we all wanted’ (video)

Video: ten times Toots Thielemans in action

“One of the greatest that jazz has ever produced’: biography of Toots Thielemans

Wandering through New York with Toots Thielemans: “He’s a bitch, ain’t he?’

Notes on the death of Toots Thielemans: ‘Our greatest’

Citizen Toots: the blue notes of Toots Thielemans in 7 famous soundtracks

The 10 plates of Toots that you should have

The blinddoektest with Toots Thielemans: ‘Allez, so mouldy that now wouldn’t it?”

Farewell jazzicoon Toots Thielemans

  • On 4 september at the Jazz Middelheim festival: farewell, Toots Thielemans (2)
  • Flemish beiaardiers play Saturday Bluesette
  • At the death of Toots Thielemans: a man of mussels with fries
  • Bass player Nolf: ‘Physically, but enjoyed the last moments’
  • Read all articles about Farewell jazzicoon Toots Thielemans

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.

Most popular