how about Paul Butterfield, Charlie Musselwhite, Jr. Wells etc? BTW I like TT very much. He is a chromatic harp master.
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I guess I would argue with the "best" statement. For "best " harmonica player designation, it would be hard to not look at Larry Adler, an amazing virtuoso. But I would certainly agree that Toots is the best Jazz harmonica player.
If you like "Aquarela Do Brazil", you should check out his "Brazil Project". One of his more commercial projects, but beautiful music and audiophile grade sonics. Another favorite is his work as sideman on one of Bill Evans' lesser known records, "Affinity".
Thanks for the responses. I agree with everything you have all posted. Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only one into this stuff. I listen to a wide range of music. To give you an example, I was listening to 24 bit 9 Inch Nails today, and am now listening to Pink Martini. I even like some old country music but not much. I will soon be listening to Brazilain Bossa Nova.
In my opinion, "Affinity" is the best ever by "Toots" or "Bill". I have numerous LP's headed by Toots and Bill as well as many featuring them as sidemen, and beyond any doubt in my mind; "Affinity" represents their best works.
Although I like all of the cuts on this LP, "Tomato Kiss" is my favorite. It features Marc Johnson on acoustic bass, Eliot Zigmund on drums, Larry Schneider on tenor sax; and of course Toots and Bill. Larry blows soprano sax on this one, and Toots is blowing that harmonica like Trane. Bill on electric piano makes this album most unique.
"Jesus Last Ballad" is next. Bill makes that electric piano sound like a heavenly harp, and when Toots harmonica comes in, they take of on a cloud. This celestial music definitely conveys "Jesus' Last Ballad".
This version of "The Days of Wine and Roses" is the most beautiful I've ever heard, it displays the soul of Toots harmonica.
Okay, so I just played Brasil Volume 1 from beginning to end. It's excellent, although 'Aquarela Do Brasil' is quite a bit better IMHO. I do love the line up on Volume 1 with Gilberto Gil and Milton Nascimento, but there's something about the Elis Regina that really makes 'Aquarela Do Brasil' rock. Maybe because Elis Regina was a little more of a Janis Joplin and Toots was so much younger. 'Aquarela Do Brasil' is Toots best I've ever heard so far.