Friday, August 6, 2021

Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis "Two Men with the Blues"

(Blue Note, 2008) I know some fine, smart music fans who do not Willie Nelson as a jazz singer doing covers, But they are fucking crazy. Nelson's phrasing and vocal timbre is magical. Sure, it's not his boldest stuff, and doing standards reduces his super power by cutting out his songwriting from the mix, but still, they are almost always great. Some of these same (seemingly hypothetical strawmen) folks also knock Marsalis at times for his sometimes conservative approach to traditional jazz, but screw them too. W & W getting together with a swinging combo and doing vocal and horn duets on jump and jazz and countrypolitan standards live at Lincoln Center is musical heaven. That they even get some Willie tunes in (including "Night Life") and that they clown on "Caldonia" and "My Bucket's Got A Hole In It" with wonderful chemistry, and that Willie getting some Big Easy in his Texas is a welcome new strain makes this one of the Redd Headed Strangers best 21st Century LPs. And he has released over 40 (!) since 2000, so that's saying something!

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