The event was simply billed as “Willie Nelson Sings the Blues,” but the historic two-night stand on January 12 and 13, 2007 at Jazz at Lincoln Center was far more than that. Call it a summit meeting between two American icons, Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis, two of the most significant figures in modern-day country and jazz, who discovered common ground in their love for jazz standards and the blues. Their performance stirred the sounds of New Orleans, Nashville, Austin and New York City into a brilliantly programmed mix that was equal parts down-home and cosmopolitan, with plenty of swing and just a touch of melancholy. To say that these shows were a hot ticket would be an understatement. Luckily, the tapes were rolling and the results of this unique collaboration now constitute the Blue Note album Two Men With The Blues for everyone who couldn’t cram into The Allen Room.
Nelson’s appearance was the highlight of the aptly named 2006-07 Singers Over Manhattan series, which Jazz at Lincoln Center produced and set against the breathtaking backdrop of The Allen Room. The venue, at Columbus Circle in New York City, features a two-story glass wall behind the stage, so that artists perform in front of a classic New York City nighttime tableau: taxis streaming around Columbus Circle, the lights of Upper East Side apartments beyond Central Park, and the moon rising over it all. Assembled before this ever-changing backdrop were Nelson in his elegant southwest regalia; his longtime sideman, harmonica player Mickey Raphael, dressed for the occasion in a suit and tie; and the always suave Marsalis, with his quartet pianist Dan Nimmer, bassist Carlos Henriquez, drummer Ali Jackson and saxophonist Walter Blanding.
Title: Two Men With The Blues
Release Date: 08 Jul 2008
Artist: Willie Nelson
Catalogue No: BLUN04454.2