359

Russell Malone: Sweet Georgia Peach

Douglas Payne By

Sign in to view read count
Russell Malone: Sweet Georgia Peach

Sweet Georgia Peach is one of 1998's most compelling mainstream jazz releases. Guitarist Russell Malone (b. 1963), known better for his sideman roles with Jimmy Smith, Harry Connick, Brandford Marsalis, Diana Krall and Mose Allison, has produced quite a fine jazz document here, in only his third effort as a leader.

He's a musician of many gifts, who never seems consciously influenced by any particular guitarist or even a direct musical style. Indirectly, he can suggest the moodswings of Larry Coryell. But such a declaration subjugates the quality of Malone's individual conceptions.

Here, Malone is captured in an all-star quartet featuring pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Lewis Nash. For a studio ensemble, this one is a tight unit that works quite well together. The bulk of the music consists of Malone's originals. He's a fine, notable composer with a gift for burying the implicit technique of his ideas under the genuine appeal of his melodies.

Check out the intriguing mid-tempo "To Benny Golson," the Larry Coryell like "Mugshot" (with an exceptionally spirited solo from Barron) and the funky "Freedom Jazz Dance" groove of the intricately-paced title track (with another great feature for Barron). The waltz he wrote for his son, "Song for Darius," offers another memorable melody and yet another expert showcase for Barron's piano artistry.

Malone's playing stands out especially on the covers he performs, most especially on the evocative "Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat" and the wonderful piano-guitar duo of Monk's "Bright Mississippi." What's most surprising, though, is how Malone rethinks two late 1970s hits. Hear how he stretches Herb Alpert's disco trash, "Rise," into a compelling mid-tempo ballad. Then listen to his sincere reconsideration of the Billy Preston/Syreeta hit "With You I'm Born Again" (to my knowledge, the only other jazz cover of this was Eric Gale's in 1980). "Born Again" is preceded by Malone's "Strange Little Smile" a terrific lullaby, like his solo rendition of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" that suggests Malone has developed quite a niche specialty.

Sweet Georgia Peach offers truly enjoyable traditional jazz and provides provocative evidence of Russell Malone's emerging talents. Recommended.

Songs:Mugshot; To Benny Golson; Strange Little Smile/With You I'm Born Again; Sweet Georgia Peach; Rise; Mean What You Say; Song For Darius; Bright Mississippi; Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat; For Toddler's Only; Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

Players:Russell Malone: guitar; Ron Carter: bass; Kenny Barron: piano; Lewis Nash: drums; Steve Kroon: percussion on "Mugshot" and "Rise."

Title: Sweet Georgia Peach | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: GRP Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roll On CD/LP/Track Review Roll On
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 25, 2017
Read Pandora's Bag CD/LP/Track Review Pandora's Bag
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 25, 2017
Read Float The Edge CD/LP/Track Review Float The Edge
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 25, 2017
Read The Attic CD/LP/Track Review The Attic
by John Sharpe
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Outside The Comfort Zone CD/LP/Track Review Outside The Comfort Zone
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "Purple Patio" CD/LP/Track Review Purple Patio
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 27, 2016
Read "Arrhythmia" CD/LP/Track Review Arrhythmia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 25, 2016
Read "avantNOIR" CD/LP/Track Review avantNOIR
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "Faces" CD/LP/Track Review Faces
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 30, 2017
Read "Potsdamer Platz" CD/LP/Track Review Potsdamer Platz
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: February 3, 2017
Read "Nearness" CD/LP/Track Review Nearness
by Doug Collette
Published: October 7, 2016

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!