Willie Nelson

American Classic (Blue Note)

Texas Platters

Willie Nelson

American Classic (Blue Note)

Though billed as the follow-up to his groundbreaking crossover Stardust, Nelson's debut on seminal jazz imprint Blue Note lacks the luster of its 1978 counterpart. American Classic is tender and light, and Nelson inhabits the songs easily, especially on the orchestral rendition of "You Were Always on My Mind," but in its comfort the album drifts toward innocuous. Unable to recapture the shock of reinvention that was Stardust, producer Tommy LiPuma rests Nelson's slowly distilled vocals atop a band of jazz ringers that squares the Texan with the tradition rather than upsetting it, and only Joe Sample's piano steps up to push the songs beyond their ready-made standard status. "Fly Me to the Moon" lacks thrust, and "Ain't Misbehaving" drains its playful yearning, and even as Diana Krall duets marvelously seductive on "If I Had You," Norah Jones meshes unconvincingly with the interplay of "Baby It's Cold Outside."

**

READ MORE
More Willie Nelson
Gift Guide: Rock & Roll Books
Pretty Paper: A Christmas Tale
Pretty Paper: A Christmas Tale

Tim Stegall, Dec. 9, 2016

Pretty Paper: A Christmas Tale
Pretty Paper: A Christmas Tale

Tim Stegall, Dec. 2, 2016

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Katie Shore
Fall Away (Record Review)

Abby Johnston, Dec. 23, 2016

Texas Platters
TripTrio
Twenty (Record Review)

Abby Johnston, Dec. 23, 2016

More by Doug Freeman
Free Week Live Shots
Leopold & His Fiction, Major Major Major, Patch
Spider House Ballroom, Jan. 7

Jan. 13, 2017

Free Week Live Shots
Digital Wild, A. Sinclair, Darkbird
Empire Control Room, Jan. 6

Jan. 13, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Willie Nelson

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)