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 Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Natural Language" CD/LP/Track Review Natural Language
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 9, 2016
Read "Of the Tree" CD/LP/Track Review Of the Tree
by Dave Wayne
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "Closer To The Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Closer To The Sun
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 9, 2017
Read "Flam! Blam! Pan-Asian Microjam!" CD/LP/Track Review Flam! Blam! Pan-Asian Microjam!
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "One for Marian" CD/LP/Track Review One for Marian
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: June 14, 2016
Read "Bring Joy" CD/LP/Track Review Bring Joy
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 4, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!