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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Willie Nelson and Family: Let’s Face the Music and Dance

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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, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis, featuring Norah Jones: Here We Go Again: Celebrating the Genius of Ray Charles

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After the success of Two Men With the Blues (Blue Note, 2008), Here We Go Again: Celebrating the Genius of Ray Charles is a welcome inevitability. The addition of the like-minded Norah Jones to the mix is just gravy, properly augmenting a Ray Charles tribute. With the possible exception of Van Morrison, only Willie Nelson exists as the logical heir to Charles' mantle. Like Charles, Nelson's aptitude has been promiscuous, gobbling up and transforming genres previously not associated with him. Nelson's Stardust (Columbia, 1978) became a classic crossover recording, combining the organic features of country music with ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis: Live From Jazz at Lincoln Center, NYC

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class="f-left s-img"width=150 height=208 > Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis Live From Jazz at Lincoln Center, NYC Eagle Rock Entertainment 2008

Singer Willie Nelson, country music outlaw, and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, jazz music ideologist, may well have seemed strange bedfellows when it came to performing together. This DVD of their concerts at the Lincoln Center perishes that notion.

Nelson has long been a singer without fetters. He interprets songs uniquely, his phrasing drawing every little emotion out of a word. Jazz may not have come his way, but that did not stop him ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Live from Jazz at Lincoln Center, NYC

Willie Nelson / Wynton Marsalis Live from Jazz at Lincoln Center, NYC Eagle Eye 2008

Willie Nelson has the final word on this DVD, heard over the closing credits, and he nails it: “You know, labels were invented to sell the music. You had to name it before you can sell it. But some music encompasses it all and what do you call that? That's what I like to play."Nelson and Wynton Marsalis were the perfect odd couple of 2008, the CD made of their concert at Jazz at Lincoln ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis: Two Men With the Blues

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What do you get when you pair a certified country music renegade with contemporary jazz's “keeper of the flame"? When the renegade is Willie Nelson and the jazz champion is Wynton Marsalis, the end result is one of the best CDs of 2008.Two Men With the Blues was recorded during a historic two-night stand on January 12 and 13, 2007 at Lincoln Center's Allen Room in New York and billed as “Willie Nelson Sings The Blues." If this CD is any indication, he sure did. Nelson plays guitar and sings--backed by Marsalis (trumpet), Mickey Raphael (harmonica), Walter Blanding ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis: Two Men with the Blues

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Recorded live during “Willie Nelson Sings the Blues," his 2007 two-night stand with the Wynton Marsalis Quintet for Jazz at Lincoln Center, where Marsalis serves as artistic director, Two Men with the Blues is by far the most enjoyable music of 2008.

Nelson and Marsalis meet each other halfway between the acoustic country blues of Nashville (via Austin) and the Dixieland and ragtime blues of New Orleans. Nelson previously recorded every tune they call off, including perennial classics “Georgia on My Mind" and “Stardust." He plays guitar and sings with Wynton's quintet, and brings along legendary harmonica sidekick ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis: Two Men with the Blues

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In case you missed it, back in 2006 singer and guitarist Willie Nelson--then 73 years young-- got busted in Louisiana. Highway police following Nelson's band bus noticed a strong smell of marijuana coming out of the windows, stopped the vehicle and found somewhere between one and a half and two pounds of weed and a bag of magic mushrooms. A US cable TV host reported they also found a jar of formaldehyde containing Waylon Jennings' foot.

Nelson, who made his name in country music, but who for decades has ploughed a wider furrow which also includes blues and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jackie King & Willie Nelson: The Gypsy

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A ballad doesn’t much care which genre it’s said to represent. Instrumentals, such as the interpretation of “The Nearness of You” appearing on this new release, make a jazz presence more obvious. The guitar duo of Jackie King and Willie Nelson weaves a session filled with lovely ballads and hot, up-tempo romps. When lyrics are applied, as on the title track, the focus changes and we stop worrying about which is country and which is not. Nelson sings half the songs and adds his emphatic guitar voice as well.

Throughout, King’s swinging jazz guitar finds ample space to explore. Both ...



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