Blue Engine Records makes the most memorable performances from Jazz at Lincoln Center's historic gala concerts available for the first time with the release of United We Swing: Best of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Galas. Recorded between 2003 and 2007, it finds an unparalleled array of music talent that collectively boasts 94 Grammy Awards joining Jazz at Lincoln Center Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis (a nine-time Grammy Award winner himself) and some of the world's top jazz musicians to perform blues-inflected versions of iconic American repertoire. Those one-night-only, live performances have never been released before.
They include Lenny Kravitz performing Marsalis's hypnotizing, New Orleans-inflected arrangement of Kravitz' own song, "Are You Gonna Go My Way"; Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks uniting for a stirring, infectious take on Civil Rights anthem "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free"; Bob Dylan adding harmonica licks to a deeply felt, in-the-pocket rendition of "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry"; and Ray Charles taking the stage for one of his final performances to play "I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town." Marsalis and his group go head-to-head with some of music's most legendary figures, like Willie Nelson and Carrie Smith, as well as modern standard-bearers like John Mayer and John Legend. Performances such as Natalie Merchant's slow-burning "The Worst Thing" and Lyle Lovett's jaunty "My Baby Don't Tolerate" reveal how jazz and the blues unite all musicians regardless of their genre, age, or birthplace.
Their backgrounds and musical stylings are diverse, but together these artists raise their voices to highlight jazz's importance to America's cultural heritage and to remind us that, even in divided times, music can unite us all. Featuring Blind Boys of Alabama, Jimmy Buffett, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Lenny Kravitz, John Legend, Lyle Lovett, John Mayer, Audra McDonald, Natalie Merchant, Willie Nelson, Carrie Smith, James Taylor, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks.