Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

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

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

Thomas Marriott
Romance Language

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

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

The Cool Season

Origin Records
2019

buy
Romance Language

Romance Language

Origin Records
2018

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

Related Articles

Read Runner in the Rain CD/LP/Track Review
Runner in the Rain
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Cuarteto Europa CD/LP/Track Review
Cuarteto Europa
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Chicago/Buenos Aires Connections CD/LP/Track Review
Chicago/Buenos Aires Connections
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Beggar’s Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition CD/LP/Track Review
Beggar’s Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Intelsat CD/LP/Track Review
Intelsat
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 15, 2018
Read World Gardens CD/LP/Track Review
World Gardens
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 14, 2018
Read "Rain or Shine" CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017
Read "Faustian Pact" CD/LP/Track Review Faustian Pact
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 28, 2018
Read "SHIFTED" CD/LP/Track Review SHIFTED
by James Fleming
Published: December 12, 2018
Read "In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983" CD/LP/Track Review In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read "Romance Language" CD/LP/Track Review Romance Language
by Paul Rauch
Published: November 8, 2018
Read "Unbroken" CD/LP/Track Review Unbroken
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 30, 2018