Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis: Two Men with the Blues

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COMPOSERS: Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis
LABELS: Blue Note
ALBUM TITLE: Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis
WORKS: Two Men with the Blues
PERFORMER: Willie Nelson (vocals, guitar), Wynton Marsalis (vocals, trumpet), Walter Blanding (saxophone), Mickey Raphael (harmonica), Da Nimmer (piano), Carlos Henriquez (bass), Ali Jackson (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: 228 1882

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This disc brings together two music giants – trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and maverick country singer Willie Nelson – for a concert that draws on the blues origins of jazz. Just as Marsalis nails the New Orleans style, so Nelson confirms his willingness to perform across a range of genres, having earned his ‘outlaw’ country status by breaking with Nashville’s strict codes in the 1970s. Performing at a two-night concert series at New York’s Lincoln Center in 2007, the two giants put on an impressive show. Things really fire up with Louis Jordan’s jump-jazz ‘Caldonia’, which is itching to evolve into rock ‘n’ roll. And the gospel-fired ‘That’s All’ bristles with Nelson’s wry attitude, with Mickey Raphael’s harmonica providing a bluegrassy edge. Fortunately this momentous occasion is preserved here for all. Neil McKim