While it is an apologia for Willie Nelson, at 80, he has more than earned the right to do as he damn well pleases when he records. When Ray Charles passed away in 2004, Nelson was the only American musician to possibly accept the Charles mantle of musician with the greatest depth and breadth, having had an immeasurable impact on American music.
Having composed country standards like "Crazy," "Hello Walls" and "Funny How Time Slips Away"recording the influential concept album Red-Headed Stranger (Columbia, 1975) and the successful crossover discs Stardust (Columbia, 1978) and Over the Rainbow (Columbia, 1981)Nelson has fairly well made himself a genre all his own, one that melds country, jazz, pop and folk musics into a mercury-malleable form defined by his distinctive voice and guitar style.
Let's Face the Music and Dance is a mixed bag of styles and genre all poured through the filter of the Nelson family's combined musical experience. Nelson's laconic, behind-the-beat singing is as informed as ever and his guitar playing has done nothing if not improved throughout his long career. The disc's title cut is delivered with a softened Bossa Nova edge, Nelson's voice quiet and warmly insinuating.
Nelson's jazz bones show up in the standards "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and Django Reinhardt's "Nuages." He hits the rockabilly with Carl Perkin's "Matchbox" while "I'll Keep On Loving You" is his C & W offering. With support by sister Bobbie and son Micah and his longtime harmonica player Mickey Raphael, Nelson shows he still has a creative thing or two up his sleeve.
Track Listing: Let's Face the Music and Dance; Is the Better Part Over; You'll Never
Know; Vous Et Moi; Walking My Baby Back Home; Matchbox; Twilight Time;
I Can't Give You Anything But Love; I'll Keep On Loving You; I Wish I
Didn't Love You So; South of the Border; Nuages; Maria (The Dawn Is
Breaking); Shame On You.
Personnel: Willie Nelson: guitar, vocals; Jim Brown: Hammond B3; Billy English:
percussion, guitar; Paul English: percussion; Bobbie Nelson: piano;
Micah Nelson: percussion; Mickey Raphael: harmonica; Kevin Smith: bass.
Why do I love jazz? Well, depending on what you mean by jazz, I can send an answer in any number of directions. Briefly, I was exposed to this crazy music as a little boy, my dad good friends with the local music store, where he bought sheet music to play from his baby grand
Why do I love jazz? Well, depending on what you mean by jazz, I can send an answer in any number of directions. Briefly, I was exposed to this crazy music as a little boy, my dad good friends with the local music store, where he bought sheet music to play from his baby grand. Their massive record collection, my parents taking me to concerts and clubs (only one of five kids to do so), the Magnavox furniture stereo/radio ... it all added up. It was complex, emotional music. And it had rhythm! I drummed and followed the music through the '60s even as I enjoyed the new musics of my generation.
Along with side-trips to other musicians and music, it's been one hell of a pony ride ever since.