Willie Nelson/Wynton Marsalis

Two Men With the Blues

At first, the pairing of Wynton Marsalis and Willie Nelson may seem like an odd arrangement. Jazz trumpeter Marsalis can belt out the big notes, while Nelson reclines with his easygoing guitar. However, like star-crossed lovers who share a happy ending, the team works exceptionally well, playing off one another for the greater good. Next to Marsalis’ trumpet, Nelson seems even more laid-back, which in turn highlights the jazz legend’s horn even more. Recorded during a live performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center, their covers of familiar songs are playful, relaxed and smooth. Sharing vocals on “My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It,” the two sound like old friends just kicking back and jamming—it’s a welcome feeling compared with some musicians who need a sponsor to even consider playing a gig.