Two Men with the Blues

( 6 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
History has proven that Willie Nelson will duet with pretty much anybody who comes along, and while this open-hearted open mind sometimes backfires, more often than not it results in some of his most sublime recordings. Two Men with the Blues, his album with jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis recorded over a two-night stand at Jazz at Lincoln Center on January 12 and 13, 2007, belongs in the latter category, standing as truly one of the most special records in either Nelson's or Marsalis' catalog. If the pair initially seem like an odd match, it's only because Wynton long carried the reputation of a purist, somebody who was adamant against expanding the definition ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
History has proven that Willie Nelson will duet with pretty much anybody who comes along, and while this open-hearted open mind sometimes backfires, more often than not it results in some of his most sublime recordings. Two Men with the Blues, his album with jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis recorded over a two-night stand at Jazz at Lincoln Center on January 12 and 13, 2007, belongs in the latter category, standing as truly one of the most special records in either Nelson's or Marsalis' catalog. If the pair initially seem like an odd match, it's only because Wynton long carried the reputation of a purist, somebody who was adamant against expanding the definition of jazz, which cast him as the opposite of Willie, who never found a border he couldn't blur. Marsalis mellowed over the years, but it's also true that he and Nelson share a common background in jazz and the Great American Songbook, so this pairing plays naturally, providing equal measures of comfort and surprise. The engine for this music is Marsalis' band -- pianist Dan Nimmer, drummer Ali Jackson, bassist Carlos Henríquez, and saxophonist Walter Blanding -- with Nelson bringing his harmonica player Mickey Raphael along, which is enough to give this a flavor that's quite distinct from a typical Marsalis session without being foreign. Similarly, this isn't quite alien territory for Nelson either, as the repertoire relies heavily on blues standards, including a pair of tunes he cut on his jazzy breakthrough, Stardust (the title track and "Georgia on My Mind"), plus he's always veered close to jazz in his vocal and guitar phrasings. All this means that Two Men with the Blues has the warm comfort of a reunion and the freshness of a new collaboration, feelings that are palpable as soon as the album kicks off with a loose yet nimble reading of Jimmy Reed's "Bright Lights, Big City." It's a subtle arrangement that doesn't draw attention to its unique touches, something that's also true of the flashier take on Hank Williams' "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It," which lurches and careens like a New Orleans marching band, coming to a highlight when Marsalis throws in a few lines from "Keep on Knockin'" for good measure. These sly spins on standards, along with a jump blues reworking of Merle Travis' "That's All" (first heard on a Willie Nelson record back in 1969), are balanced by numbers that are perhaps a bit more expected but are no less delightful, as "Night Life" is turned into a showcase for Wynton and the bandmembers sound as good skipping through "Caldonia" as they do laying back on "Basin Street Blues." It's music that flows so easily it's perhaps easy to take for granted, but Two Men with the Blues is truly something special, as it captures two masters enjoying their common ground while spurring each other to hear old sounds in new ways. It's a flat-out joy.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/8/2008
  • Label: Blue Note Records
  • EAN: 5099950445424
  • Catalog Number: 04454
  • Sales rank: 48,089

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Willie Nelson Primary Artist, Guitar, Vocals
Wynton Marsalis Primary Artist, Trumpet, Vocals
Mickey Raphael Harmonica
Walter Blanding Saxophone
Carlos Henríquez Bass, Upright Bass
Ali Muhammed Jackson Drums
Dan Nimmer Piano
Technical Credits
Willie Nelson Composer
Merle Travis Composer
Walt Breeland Composer
Clarence Williams Composer
Spencer Williams Composer
Leon Zervos Mastering
Carla Leighton Art Direction
Fleecie Moore Composer
Rob Macomber Engineer
Mark Rothbaum Executive Producer
John Mark Harris Engineer
Jeff Jones Remixing
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Love Willie

    I am a Willie Nelson fan so this of course is just my opinion. I love this cd. I like Winton and figured with Willie it should be good. I was not disappointed.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Bit too Mellow

    I must disagree somewhat with the AMG reviewer. While it is hard to fault individual songs, the project could have used a few more than the two up-tempo numbers it contains. Willie has one of the jazzier guitar styles in popular music. However, he seems to keep it under wraps here and that also nudges the proceedings toward the bland. I am happy to own it but I can't give it 4 or 5 stars.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews