Jazz Musician. Born Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidor Thielemans, he was a legendary harmonica player whose illustrious career included playing with jazz greats like Miles Davis and whose solos have figured on numerous film scores. He started playing the harmonica as a hobby and became interested in jazz during the German occupation of Belgium. His first international breakthrough came in 1950 when he joined Benny Goodman on a European concert tour. He moved to the United States in 1952, joining Charlie Parker's All Stars. He also played with other jazz greats, including Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis, and Dinah Washington and other mainstream stars like Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Billy Joel through the years. He composed and recorded his signature song "Bluesette" in 1962, which became an international hit and has become a jazz standard. He has worked on movie soundtracks including “Midnight Cowboy”, "The Getaway" and "Sugarland Express" and his harmonica is heard on the theme music for the children’s show, “Sesame Street". He also worked on many projects with famed record producer Quincy Jones. He also played the guitar. He was honored by Belgium's royal family in 2001, when King Albert II gave him the title of baron. The U.S. National Endowment for the Arts granted him the 2009 Jazz Master Award. He retired from music in 2014 after health problems forced him off the stage.
Bio by: Mr. Badger Hawkeye