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Willie Nelson/ Wynton Marsalis - Two Men With The Blues
DVD Review By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist
3/19/09

Over his iconic career, Willie Nelson has shared stages and recording studios with many. His collaborations are renowned. And, along the way, he’s anchored memorable partnerships and music. Who can forget Willie and Waylon? There was Willie and Merle. And what about The Highwaymen? His acclaimed and classic Across the Borderline, released in 1993, with guests Bob Dylan, Sinéad O'Connor, David Crosby, Bonnie Raitt and Paul Simon is a recorded witness to a sharing nature.

Now with Two Men With The Blues, the Redheaded Stranger pairs with prominent jazz performer Wynton Marsalis. It’s an interesting genre contrast. And, to my weathered ears, it works well.

Willie, the cherished country music outlaw, Farm Aid activist, author and actor, has an envied career. The former disc jockey and encyclopedia salesman from Abbott, Texas, whose personal life has seen him marry five times and father nine children, has little to prove. There’s always been the music, well over 80 albums, the hits and misses, the constant touring and the countless awards, nods and recognitions.

Now on this album, recorded over January 12 and 13, 2007 at the Lincoln Center, New York, NY, Willie gets his bluesy and jazzed thang happenin’ with Wynton Marsalis. Together, they make music sure to appeal to those who like to listen rather than dance. It’s late night music. It’s music for pondering. It’s music for reflection. It’s music made for a balloon glass of vintage red and time to spend.

Marsalis, well labeled as the most outstanding jazz musician and trumpeter of his generation, joins Willie in a soulful and thoughtful playing of some memorable and polished tunes.

The album opens with “Bright Lights Big City”. Willie’s light and easy drawl, perfect for this kind of arrangement, sets the tone and pace of this album. Tracks like the dreamy “Night Life”, the jump and jive of “Caldonia”, and the Hoagy Carmichael co-writes “Stardust” and “Georgia On My Mind” reinforce it. Listen out also for the horn-driven and guitar middle on “My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It” – a tune that has Willie and Wynton trading lines and licks in fine form.

While Willie and Wynton claim the attention and adulation, mention needs to be made of the band. These stellar musicians – Walter Blanding (saxophone), Dan Nimmer (piano), Carlos Henriquez (bass), Ali Jackson (drums) and long-time Nelson band member Mickey Raphael (Harmonica) – all add skilful class to this unique album.

If you like your music mellow, easy, unrushed, sassy and joyous, then these two men with the blues will be to your liking.

It’s out now on Blue Note Records. A DVD is also available.

Track Listing:

01. Bright Lights, Big City
02. Night Life
03. Caldonia
04. Stardust
05. Basin Street Blues
06. Georgia On My Mind
07. Rainy Day Blues
08. My Bucket’s Got a Hole In it
09. Ain’t Nobody’s Business
10. That’s All

 
Click the pic to order from Amazon.com.

Related Links: 
www.willienelson.com - Myspace 
www.wyntonmarsalis.org - Myspace
 

 

 

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