Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Two Men with the Blues

Two musical titans…the amazing Wynton Marsalis and Willie Nelson, one of the coolest guys on the planet…came together last year with a crack band (including Nelson’s ace harmonica player Mickey Raphael, drummer Ali Jackson, bassist Carlos Henriquez, pianist Dan Nimmer, and saxophonist Walter Blanding), a handful of standards, and a playful, laidback vibe to produce the delightful music that fills this fine, fine CD.

Recorded live at the home of Jazz at the Lincoln Center in New York over two nights the principals are all relaxed but totally in the groove…Marsalis swings with such casual authority that it is almost breathtaking and Nelson’s mellow vocal phrasing and his fluid guitar lines fit the jazzy/bluesy music to a tee.

Kicking off with a sprightly take on Jimmy Reed’s “Bright Light, Big City”, the 10 tracks include songs written by Nelson…a very fine “Night Life” and a tasty romp through “Rainy Day Blues”…along with standards Willie is well acquainted with…delicate readings of “Georgia on my Mind” and “Stardust”…along with other classic tunes…including rousing versions of “Basin Street Blues” and “Caldonia”.

Wynton even takes vocal turns on infectious “My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It” and a stately stroll through the Fats Waller chestnut “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” (featuring fine solos by Nelson, Marsalis, and Blanding.)

The disc ends with a sly, gospel tinged version of Merle Travis’ “That’s All” (which features an enthusiastic drum solo by Jackson.)

Two Men with the Blues is easy as Sunday morning and as cool as the other side of the pillow (thanks, Mr. Scott :-)…and I hope Wynton and Willie get together to do it again sometime.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

This performance was definitely good times.