Harmonica great Jean "Toots" Thielemans and jazz pianist Kenny Werner are soul mates. Though three decades separate them -- Thielemans is in his early 80s, Werner in his early 50s -- they share a sensibility that makes their music both soothing and stimulating. Thielemans has been performing for more than a half-century. His associates include Charlie Parker, Stephane Grappelli, Miles Davis, and Bill Evans. Werner, who often plays with Cleveland sax-icon Joe Lovano, is a mystical pianist with an affinity for the blues. His albums, particularly the 1999 RCA release Beauty Secrets
, ripple with imagination and romanticism.
Two years ago, the pair released Toots Thielemans & Kenny Werner, a very pretty CD on Verve. It features a Sinatra medley, a Michel Legrand medley, and tunes by Herbie Hancock and Charlie Chaplin. It's intimate and warm and seasoned, the work of master players who know that embers can be as exciting as fireworks.