11 Songs, 1 Hour 1 Minute

EDITORS’ NOTES

At first, the pairing of Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis seems unlikely. Not because they come from completely different genres, but because they represent totally different philosophies. Nelson has spent his career reformatting the boundaries of country music, while Marsalis has devoted his life to re-instilling the traditional values of jazz. Their common ground here is a love for naturalistic playing, and of course, as evinced by the title, the blues. Nelson’s affinity for jazz has been known since his early years, and it’s easy to see why Marsalis would appreciate the older man’s clever phrasing, and understated sense of swing. Both these guys care about the song, especially the melody. These are freest when dealing with a hallowed tune, which is why the best moments on the album come in the form of ancient hits like “Ain’t Nobody’s Business,” “Georgia On My Mind” and “Stardust,” all of which are reborn in this setting. Nelson has performed “Night Life” thousands of times in his career, but here the song becomes an ideal meeting ground, and Marsalis’s gutsy, lonely solo opens new corridors in a much-traveled song.

EDITORS’ NOTES

At first, the pairing of Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis seems unlikely. Not because they come from completely different genres, but because they represent totally different philosophies. Nelson has spent his career reformatting the boundaries of country music, while Marsalis has devoted his life to re-instilling the traditional values of jazz. Their common ground here is a love for naturalistic playing, and of course, as evinced by the title, the blues. Nelson’s affinity for jazz has been known since his early years, and it’s easy to see why Marsalis would appreciate the older man’s clever phrasing, and understated sense of swing. Both these guys care about the song, especially the melody. These are freest when dealing with a hallowed tune, which is why the best moments on the album come in the form of ancient hits like “Ain’t Nobody’s Business,” “Georgia On My Mind” and “Stardust,” all of which are reborn in this setting. Nelson has performed “Night Life” thousands of times in his career, but here the song becomes an ideal meeting ground, and Marsalis’s gutsy, lonely solo opens new corridors in a much-traveled song.

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