The Gypsy

Jackie King

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The Gypsy Review

by Steve Loewy

Willie Nelson joins country guitarist Jackie King for this mix of ten country and jazz tunes, in which all the players appear comfortable in both settings. An unusual recording, with roots back to country swing, there is a delightful lightness to it all that makes for pleasant listening. Nelson sings in his instantly recognizable, inimitable style, behind which the four-piece rhythm section backs him and King with attractive jazz licks. The most interesting of the tracks are probably the standards such as "Cherokee," "Back Home in Indiana" (a barely disguised variation of "Indiana"), and "Lover Come Back to Me," each of which is altered slightly. While the solos are fairly mundane and would not attract much notice absent the novelty of the approach and the presence of Willie Nelson, the recording emphasizes, to its credit, the natural, yet sometimes uneasy, attraction of country & western music to jazz, and the universality of decent music, of whatever genre. Jazz "purists" may be put off by the attempt to merge the two, and the effort is not entirely successful (it is not great jazz or country), but kudos to Jackie King, Willie Nelson, and colleagues for a valiant effort that provides moments of joy.

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