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The lecture of Matthias Heyman is the ideal starting point for your visit to the exhibition “Toots 100. The Sound of a Belgian Legend”. During this lecture, the speaker takes you on a journey through the early years of Toots when he raged like a whirlwind through the Belgian jazz scene.
The basic story is well known: harmonica player Toots Thielemans was born in the Marolles in Brussels, had a breakthrough with his hit “Bluesette,” and gained worldwide fame through collaborations with stars such as Quincy Jones and Paul Simon. But less known are his early years when the young guitarist paved his way in a postwar and fast-changing music scene alongside equally young and innovative colleagues such as saxophonist Bobby Jaspar and vibraphonist “Fats” Sadi.
Matthias Heyman will lead you through the Belgian jazz milieu from 1920, when the young music genre gained a foothold here, until the 1950s, when Toots emigrated to the United States. You will learn more about the jazz networks that existed in the Interwar period, how jazz thrived during the war years, and how Toots as a twenty-something quickly rose to the top of the modern jazz scene in Belgium.
The lecture takes place during a nocturne, which means that you can visit the exhibition until 10 p.m.
Matthias Heyman is lecturer and researcher at the LUCA School of Arts (Leuven) and the Koninklijk Conservatorium (Brussels), where is leads the research group Jazz, Improvised Music and Popular Music. He was the first person in Belgium to have obtained a PhD with a focus on jazz, and specialises in jazz history, artistic research, and jazz in Belgium.