Album Review: Willie Nelson/Wynton Marsalis - ‘Two Men with the Blues’

It may be a case of strange bedfellows, but both Wynton Marsalis and Willie Nelson found common ground in the blues. 

Marsalis joined Nelson for two nights (January 12 and 13, 2007) at Lincoln Center for an evening of jazz.  The two legends had discovered that they shared a love for jazz standards and the blues. 

The two (both provide vocals with Nelson on guitar and Marsalis on trumpet) were joined by Walter Blanding (saxophone), Mickey Raphael (harmonica), Dan Nimmer (piano), Carlos Henriquez (bass), and Ali Jackson (drums). 

The album starts off strong with a swinging rendition of “Bright Lights Big City” and never lets up.  My favorite would probably be the standard “Stardust,” but it’s always been a favorite.  Each performer is given ample chance to shine as the band excels as they move through each tune. 

What surprised me somewhat was getting to hear Marsalis sing since for the most part I’ve only heard him play trumpet.  Nelson’s vocals are the highlight though as he seems to be having a great time, as the band does too.  Not only that but we, the listener, are swept along in a great could of fine music and have a great time as well. 

A highly recommended release from two legends of music and we can count our lucky stars that tape was rolling and this fantastic evening in Lincoln Center was captured for us to enjoy.

Further Reading on M&C