325

Russell Malone: Playground

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Russell Malone: Playground Russell Malone is a guitarist’s guitarist. He shares with Joe Pass the distinction for being equally a superb accompanist and leader, as evidenced by recordings with Diana Krall, Harry Connick, Jr., Shirley Horn and Wynton Marsalis—as well as his own recordings. He opens MaxJazz's inaugural String Series with two originals for jazz quartet. "You Should have Known Better" is a breezy, almost pop-oriented piece that features Malone’s brilliant chord soloing, heavily influenced by George Benson. "Blues for Mulgrew" is a straight-ahead offering that blazes at light speed out of the current Jazz Mainstream. Malone plays musical pinochle with pianist Martin Bejerano, weaving in and out of those same twelve bars.



The first standard is Billy Strayhorn’s "Something to Live For." Here, Malone shows his superb ballad stripes, playing is a light grace that never once stoops toward cliché. The very same can be said for the solo recital of Carole King’s "You’ve Got a Friend," a song that has been patiently waiting to enter the jazz standards canon. Malone shows that he can play the guitar as one would play the piano. His tone is thick and round and sumptuous and is nowhere better showcased. His quartet interpretation of the Carpenters’ "We’ve Only Just Begun" exists in perfect harmony with the King composition.



Vibraphonist Joe Locke joins Malone on bopish "Sugar Buzz," both musicians swinging relentlessly while squeezing out 64th notes effortlessly. This is certainly a virtuoso performance vehicle. Alto saxophonist Gary Barth Joins him on "Mandela," providing the piece a John Coltrane-esque plaintive wail reminiscent of "Alabama" and "A Love Supreme." Russell Malone is an understated guitarist whose technique and taste have made him very much in demand during recent history.



Visit MaxJazz Records and Russell Malone on the web.


Track Listing: Your Should Know Better; Blues For Mulgrew; Something To Live For; Sugar Buzz; Playground; Remind Me; We

Personnel: Russell Malone

Title: Playground | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: MAXJAZZ


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read Good Merlin CD/LP/Track Review Good Merlin
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 19, 2017
Read I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "Ensam" CD/LP/Track Review Ensam
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 26, 2016
Read "Meditations on Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Meditations on Freedom
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: January 16, 2017
Read "3rio" CD/LP/Track Review 3rio
by Pascal-Denis Lussier
Published: May 1, 2017
Read "Lello's Italian Job, Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Lello's Italian Job, Vol. 1
by Jim Olin
Published: September 9, 2016
Read "Gentle Giants" CD/LP/Track Review Gentle Giants
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 29, 2017
Read "Lockout Station" CD/LP/Track Review Lockout Station
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 1, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.