All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

284

Thomas Marriott: Crazy: The Music of Willie Nelson

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
If you want to put your music into compartments, it might be hard to cozy up to a "jazz" CD getting tight with the tunes of "country" icon Willie Nelson. But smart music lovers throw the labels down the man hole, and maybe remember that none other than Miles Davis counted himself a Nelson fan—check out the six takes of the tune "Willie Nelson" on The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions (Columbia Records, 2003) boxed set.

Enter trumpeter/flugelhornist Thomas Marriott, with Crazy: The Music of Willie Nelson.

Marriott and the band take on a couple of Nelson's best known compositions—the 1961 Patsy Cline hit "Crazy," and the Nelson-recorded "On the Road Again" (is there a person alive who hasn't heard those tunes?), along with a bunch of lesser-known gems. But if you're expecting understated, subtle country flavors, think again. The sound has a distinctly modern and often brash tone, thanks in no small part to the three members of the under-recorded Matt Jorgensen + 451 ensemble: drummer Jorgensen, saxophonist Mark Taylor, and keyboardist Ryan Burns. Especially Burns, who switches from the acoustic piano mode of his Tree-O (Odd Bird Records, 2007) in favor of some serious musical adventurousness with his Fender Rhodes and Moog synthesizer.

The opener, "Phases & Stages, Circles and Cycles" pulses to life on Geoff Harper's slow bass throb leading into a rhythm that sizzles behind Marriott's echoing horn, giving way to Taylor's cool, sweet nuances on soprano sax before Ryan Burns splashes neon colors and gleaming metallic sounds around.

The disc closes with "On the Road Again," probably Nelson's most familiar melody. Marriott and company change the original's quiet country charm into an expansive, lush, electric wash of sound that seems as if it could have been issued from the underbelly of an alien spacecraft that has picked up an errant Willie broadcast out in space, and is now hovering in a starry sky, broadcasting its otherworldly renditions down to an awe-struck earthly crowd.

And of course there's "Crazy." The band begins simply, gently, reverently, before things fall apart—the horns and keys sounding like misfiring neurons—crazy.

This set of eleven Willie Nelson songs—done up in a quite adventurous jazz mode—is an unusually fine and original listening experience.


Track Listing: Phases & Stages, Circles & Cycles; Everywhere I Go; Write Your Own Songs; You Wouldn

Personnel: Thomas Marriott: trumpet, flugelhorn; Mark Taylor: saxophone; Ryan Burns: Moog synthesizer, Fender Rhodes; Geoff Harper: bass; Matt Jorgensen: drums; Wayne Horwitz: keyboards (3); Rick Mandyck: guitar (10), vocal (11); Cecil Young: gong (11).

Title: Crazy: The Music of Willie Nelson | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Origin Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Yakima

Yakima

Thomas Marriott
Human Spirit

Diagram

Diagram

Thomas Marriott
Constraints & Liberations

Pelham Gardens

Pelham Gardens

Thomas Marriott
East-West Trumpet Summit

Circadian Rhythms

Circadian Rhythms

Thomas Marriott
Flexicon

Sing We Now of Christmas

Sing We Now of Christmas

Thomas Marriott
The Cool Season

Both Sides Of The Fence

Both Sides Of The Fence

Thomas Marriott
Both Sides Of The Fence

Interviews
Jazz Near Me
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
The Cool Season

The Cool Season

Origin Records
2019

buy
Urban Folklore

Urban Folklore

Origin Records
2015

buy
Return of the East-West Trumpet Summit

Return of the...

Origin Records
2015

buy
Urban Folklore

Urban Folklore

Origin Records
2014

buy
Constraints & Liberations

Constraints &...

Origin Records
2011

buy
Constraints and Liberations

Constraints and...

Origin Records
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To CD/LP/Track Review
You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 24, 2018
Read We Out Here CD/LP/Track Review
We Out Here
by Chris May
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Best of the Bootlegs 2017 CD/LP/Track Review
Best of the Bootlegs 2017
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read The Asylum Years CD/LP/Track Review
The Asylum Years
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Solo Contra CD/LP/Track Review
Solo Contra
by Daniel Barbiero
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Ellipse CD/LP/Track Review
Ellipse
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 23, 2018
Read "A Chicken in a Bottle" CD/LP/Track Review A Chicken in a Bottle
by Anthony Shaw
Published: April 17, 2017
Read "Syzygy" CD/LP/Track Review Syzygy
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "May I Introduce To You" CD/LP/Track Review May I Introduce To You
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 15, 2017
Read "Time Being" CD/LP/Track Review Time Being
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 12, 2017
Read "Shifting Borders" CD/LP/Track Review Shifting Borders
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 5, 2017
Read "The Mugician" CD/LP/Track Review The Mugician
by Thomas Earl
Published: February 1, 2018