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Showtime: 8PM
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Toots Thielemans &Kenny Werner w/ Oscar Castro-Neves & Airto
Toots Thielemans - harmonica
Kenny Werner - piano
Oscar Castro-Neves - guitar
Airto Moreira - percussion

Toots Thielemans is "One of the greatest musicians of our time," said Quincy Jones. He is certainly one of jazz's greatest harmonica players. He has collaborated and recorded with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bill Evans and Quincy Jones. His harmonica has complemented such diverse singers as Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, and Billy Joel, and he lent his distinctive harmonica sound to the Sesame Street theme tune. Born in the Netherlands, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1950 and became a member of George Shearing's group before beginning to record under his own name in the late 1950's. Toots is the unchallenged master of jazz harmonica and perennial Downbeat and Jazz Times poll-winner in the Miscellaneous Instruments category. Most recently, he has recorded and toured with pianist Kenny Werner and guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves.

An accomplished pianist since the 70s, Kenny Werner has played and recorded with many jazz greats. He was invited to record with Charles Mingus on Something Like a Bird and in 1981 released his first album of original work. The early '80s brought extensive touring, including tours with Archie Shepp and the Mel Lewis Orchestra, Rufus Reid, Ray Drummond, Jaki Byard, John Abercrombie and Joe Henderson to Tom Harrell and Chico Freeman. Werner produced a series of acclaimed records in the '90s, including three albums for the Concord Jazz label, Maybeck Recital Hall Series, Volume 34 and Concord Duo Series, Volume Ten, and Live at Visiones. He received a Grammy nomination in 2002 for Best Instrumental Composition, for his Verve duo CD, "Toots Thielemans & Kenny Werner." Most recently, his Half Note Records Trio CD was recorded live at the Blue Note last April.

Virtuoso guitarist, composer, and arranger Oscar Castro-Neves was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1940. He emerged as one of the founding figures of the musical movement known worldwide as Bossa Nova, along with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto, and others. Highly regarded not only for his musicianship and distinctive guitar style, but also for his sophisticated and unique harmonic concepts and the exquisite texture of his orchestrations, Castro-Neves has prolifically collaborated with such diverse artists as Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock, Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Dave Grusin, Sergio Mendes, and - of course - Jobim and Joao Gilberto. "Soul of Tango," the piece he produced with cellist Yo-Yo Ma won the Grammy Award in 1999 for Best Classical Crossover and his film scoring credits include "Blame it on Rio" with Marcello Mastroianni, "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," and "L.A. Story.

The most high-profile percussionist of the 1970s and still among the most famous, Airto Moreira (often simply known by his first name) helped make percussion an essential part of many modern jazz groups; his tambourine solos can border on the amazing. Airto originally studied guitar and piano before becoming a percussionist. He played locally in Brazil, collected and studied over 120 different percussion instruments, and in 1968 moved to the U.S. with his wife, singer Flora Purim. Airto played with Miles Davis during part of 1969-1970, appearing on several records (most notably Live Evil). He worked with Lee Morgan for a bit in 1971, was an original member of Weather Report, and in 1972 was part of Chick Corea's initial version of Return to Forever with Flora Purim; he and Corea also recorded the classic Captain Marvel with Stan Getz. By 1973, Airto had his own group, which was signed to CTI and appeared on Purim's sessions. Since then, he has stayed busy, mostly co-leading bands with his wife and recording as a leader for many labels, including Buddah, CTI, Arista, Warner Bros., Caroline, Rykodisc, In & Out, and B&W.


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