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Willie & Wynton at Lincoln Center

Wynton Marsalis with Willie Nelson

The initial eyebrow-raising that greeted the announcement of Wynton Marsalis and Willie Nelson’s 2007 live collaboration quickly gave way to a forehead-slapping “Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?” Jazz and country, despite their obvious differences, share a root in the blues, one that’s been explored many times since Satchmo blew alongside Jimmie “The Singing Brakeman” Rodgers on a take of “Blue Yodel #9” back in 1930, and the two nights Marsalis and Nelson spent together at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room in retrospect seem natural. Both musicians owe an incalculable debt to the rudiments of the blues, and the hunch that their pairing would work resulted in one of last year’s surprise hit albums, Two Men With the Blues.

The inevitable DVD followup reprises all of the album’s 10 tracks, adds three more (“Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” “Sweet Georgia Brown” and a rousing finale of “Down by the Riverside”), and jumbles the sequence for reasons unstated. The visuals confirm what the audio already made clear: Wynton Marsalis probably never had this much fun onstage before, and Willie Nelson is, well, what Willie Nelson always is. For once Marsalis isn’t so much concerned about preserving the legacy of jazz as he is with just digging the party-and when Willie Nelson is at your party, it’s going to be one to remember.

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