Jazz was meant to be recorded live on the bandstand. It is spontaneous music ruled by improvisation and invention in real time. There exist precious few bad live jazz recordings. This is a ready indication of the high quality of musicianship jazz requires for proper performance and the necessity of said jazz musicians to think quickly on their feet. MaxJazz has been making it a point to capture its artists in live settings and has done so with unparalleled success, continuing to do so with guitarist Russell Malone.
Where Russell Malone channeled Grant Green on the first half of this live set, Live at The Jazz Standard, Volume One, the guitarist comes fully into his own on Live at The Jazz Standard, Volume Two. There is only one real "standard in the set, Malone's shimmering take on Irving Berlin's "How About Me. The remainder of the recording is all Malone with some thoughtfully selected vehicles.
The disc opens with Malone's angular "Mugshot, which provides the guitarist with ample space for chord soloing as well as single note runs. Pianist Martin Bejerano is featured and drummer Johnathan Blake carpet bombs the piece, softening up the audience for what is to come. The Isley Brothers provide Malone a sleigh ride with "For the Love of You which Malone arranges for a major mainstream treatment. Malone's perfectly round tone is exercised completely here.
The biggest and most pleasant surprise is Malone's grappling with Rex Koury's "Theme From Gunsmoke. This performance can only be compared with Sonny Rollins' interpretation of "I'm an Old Cowhand on Way Out West (Contemporary, 1957). It is an inventive romp through an unlikely melody that the guitarist navigates creatively. Brightly performed Malone originals "Playground and "Sugar Buzz close out this satisfying conclusion to Malone's September 2005 stay at New York City's Jazz Standard.
Track Listing: Mugshot; For The Love Of You; Theme From Gunsmoke; How About Me?; Don't Point That Over Here; Playground; Sugar Buzz.
Personnel: Russell Malone: guitar; Martin Bejerano: piano; Tassili Bond: bass; Johnathan Blake: drums.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.