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Willie Nelson/Wynton Marsalis: Two Men with the Blues

Album Reviews:

Rolling Stone (p.95) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[Marsalis] chills out, adding a one-note trumpet solo on 'That's All' that's funny and awesome."

Entertainment Weekly (p.75) - "[T]heir sensibility is New Orleans by way of Texas and Tin Pan Alley -- with Marsalis' usual horn-fronted band doing the driving and Nelson settling in perfectly with his offbeat vocal phrasing."

Down Beat (p.64) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Marsalis and Nelson have no problem finding common ground....Those familiar with Nelson's work will recognize his longtime harmonica player Mickey Raphael..."

JazzTimes - "Marsalis' soloing throughout parses vintage-sounding blues riffs and his naturally probing attitude as a player, seeking out the cerebral blues notes of his personal devising."

Vibe (p.62) - "Impressive without being pretentious, TWO MEN possesses an urbane strut that's perfect for jazzheads -- and their country cousins."

Dirty Linen (pp.44-45) - "Their version of Nelson's 'Night Life' has to be the swankiest ever, especially given Marsalis' breathtaking solos that conjures images of him playing from a wrought iron French Quarter balcony with his horn's bell raised to the stars."

Q (Magazine) (p.140) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[Nelson is] an ideal interpreter of these 10 old jazz and blues standards made famous by Jimmy Reed, Louis Jordan and more, especially when joined by trumpeter and jazz educationalist Marsalis and band."

Mojo (Publisher) (p.111) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[With] Marsalis interjecting an array of piquant, often inspired solos..."

Blender (Magazine) (p.90) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "A trumpet-anchored jazz combo swings Nelson's smoothness into new directions, and he returns the favor by helping bandleader Wynton Marsalis loosen up..."

Paste (magazine) (p.74) - "[It] feels like a long-overdue summit meeting. These renditions of classics -- including some of Willie's own -- sound completely natural..."

Record Collector (magazine) (p.102) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Nelson revisits the bluesier elements of his own catalogue....It's Marsalis' album, full of soaring horn flourishes and subtle phrasing..."

Album Notes

TWO MEN WITH THE BLUES brings out both the jazziness that's long been a key element of Willie Nelson's sound (his standards album, STARDUST, remains one of his most acclaimed efforts) and the New Orleans-tinged, Louis Armstrong-esque bluesiness that's at the core of almost everything Wynton Marsalis has ever done (not counting that classical album!). Marsalis blows blistering, gutsy solos on Nelson's own classic tune "Night Life," and Willie sounds completely at home delivering a low-key version of the New Orleans jazz standard "Basin Street Blues." A version of the Ray Charles signature song "Georgia on My Mind" highlights the jazz-savvy chordal movement and country/blues base of the timeless composition. TWO MEN WITH THE BLUES is a successful sonic summit meeting, but the two camps represented were never truly that far apart to begin with.


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