Monday, April 11, 2011

Willie & Wynton Celebrate Ray, Jessica Channels 'Trane - Bob Stewart

Given the rousing artistic and commercial success of the first recorded collaboration of legendary troubadour Willie Nelson and jazz statesman Wynton Marsalis in 2008, it's not surprising that the pair would rendezvous again. The first meeting took place in the Allen Room of New York's Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2007. Their encore appearance was also staged at the heralded jazz house, this time for two sold-out nights at the Rose Theater in February of 2009, with special guest Norah Jones. Rather than rehash the previous material Nelson and Marsalis had first presented, the threesome paid homage to the music of the late Ray Charles for the disc, "Here We Go Again."

For her first trio outing in several years, pianist Jessica Williams digs deep as she channels the spirit of John Coltrane on "Freedom Trane." "John Coltrane has been my light through the darkness," she explains. "When there are questions, I'll ask 'what would Philly Joe Jones or Dexter Gordon do.' But when things are really weird, I can ask the 'Trane." She's joined by drummer Mel Brown and bassist Dave Captein on a set of originals along with compositions favored in performance by the saxophone legend.

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