284

Thomas Marriott: Crazy: The Music of Willie Nelson

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Thomas Marriott: Crazy: The Music of Willie Nelson 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 and Cycles; Everywhere I Go; Write Your Own Songs; You Wouldn't Cross the Street (To Say Goodbye); Blame It On the Times; I'm Building Heartaches; The Great Divide; Crazy; Time Slips Away; One In a Row; On the Road Again.

Personnel: Thomas Marriott: trumpet & flugelhorn; Mark Taylor: saxophones; Ryan Burns: Moog synthesizer, Fender Rhodes; Geoff Harper: Bass; Matt Jorgensen: drums.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Origin Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Miles Davis Miles Davis
trumpet
Charlie Parker Charlie Parker
sax, alto
Freddie Hubbard Freddie Hubbard
trumpet
Claudio Roditi Claudio Roditi
trumpet
Dave Douglas Dave Douglas
trumpet
Sean Jones Sean Jones
trumpet
Sheryl Bailey Sheryl Bailey
guitar, electric
James Zollar James Zollar
trumpet
Mark Rapp Mark Rapp
trumpet
Tia Fuller Tia Fuller
saxophone

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "A Woman's Work..." CD/LP/Track Review A Woman's Work...
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "Duo" CD/LP/Track Review Duo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 20, 2016
Read "I'm Gonna Tell You Somethin' That I Know" CD/LP/Track Review I'm Gonna Tell You Somethin' That I Know
by James Nadal
Published: August 2, 2016
Read "Hungarian Noir" CD/LP/Track Review Hungarian Noir
by James Nadal
Published: April 15, 2016
Read "Lovers" CD/LP/Track Review Lovers
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: September 13, 2016
Read "Tipico" CD/LP/Track Review Tipico
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 7, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!