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Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis : Two Men With the Blues

Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis

Ah, together at last-outlaw country eminence gris Willie Nelson and jazz icon and lightning rod Wynton Marsalis. While the phrase “Willie and Wynton” might fall awkwardly off the tongue for some, history has in fact shown that Willie Nelson and jazz have a much closer alliance than genre-splitting pundits and audiences know or fess up to. Anyone who listens up to a Willie Nelson show hears jazz freely filtering through the twangy cracks.

Another trumpeter, Miles Davis, was a Willie fan before it became fashionable for one and all to be, and Miles even named a track after him (heard on the reissue box The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions). Now comes the agreeable live recording Two Men With the Blues, Marsalis’ summit meeting with Nelson. At its best, the album is a meeting of American heroes, one from Texas, one from Lincoln Center by way of New Orleans, with links to the South and to all sides of the racial and socio-musical divides.

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