Willie Nelson w/ Marian McPartland
NPR’s Piano Jazz broadcast February 10, 2002.
Recorded in July 2001 at Manhattan Beach Recording Studios, New York, NY.
Excellent FM stereo.
This short and sweet performance with Marian McPartland and Jackie King is pure joy. Nelson’s voice has matured well and can carry feeling the way torch singers used to. It’s never forceful or contrived but a natural, warmth that Nelson puts into songs like The Heart Of A Clown, Stardust and There Will Never Be Another You. Excellent for late-night listening.
On The Great Divide, Nelson breaks away to improvise on the Hotel California riff on his acoustic guitar. You can imagine his broad smile as he flubs a note or two. Guitarist Jackie King is a longtime friend and sometime bandmate so the pairing is easy. McPartland plays unobtrusively but is lively throughout. The trio have played live in concert before so the synergy is there.
Jackie King wrote on his website, jackieking.com, of this studio performance that “it reveals the common thread between great artists and improvisers”. It’s that “outlaw” thing common to all improvisers, the need to break down barriers and live free. - The Little Chicken.