WSJ: Jazz Finds a Country Home

April 27th, 2011



Wall Street Journal
posted 4/27/11

Even today, the singer-songwriter Anna Wilson says, "There are two kinds of people out there: Those who believe that there could never be any common ground between jazz and country music, and those who know that they've shaken hands, at least, in the past."

Ms. Wilson's new album, "Countrypolitan Duets," is one of five recently released records that aim for common ground between the two venerable American music traditions. The most high-profile of these is "Here We Go Again," the second recorded meeting between two dominant figures in each medium, Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis. But Ms. Wilson's album also boasts a pantheon of Nashville stars both classic (Ray Price, Kenny Rogers) and contemporary (Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts). Also new on shelves are two mostly instrumental sets by musicians on the east (Bucky Pizzarelli's "Back in the Saddle Again") and west coasts (Cow Bop's "Too Hick for the Room") that are deeply inspired by the Western Swing of the 1940s. And the most unlikely of them all, "Pretend It's the End of the World," by saxophonist Bryan Murray, explores the conjunction of Merle Haggard and Ornette Coleman.