Guitarist Russell Malone has found a durable and receptive home at MAXJAZZ, resulting in three fine recordings: Playground (2004); Live at Jazz Standard, Volume 1 (2006); and Live at Jazz Standard, Volume 2 (2006). He sports an elegant, unpretentious method and a shimmering, round and slightly velvety tone that compliments his considerable abilities. Triple Play is Malone's first trio recording, proving that the best jazz is created in small spaces.
Malone's grasp of the blues is beyond question. He addresses the great Oliver Nelson's "Butch and Butch," from Blues and the Abstract Truth (Impulse!, 1961), with funky aplomb. But it is with Malone's own "Sweet Georgia Peach" that the guitarist puts his stamp firmly on the blues. The complex head is late '60s Hawaii Five-0/Herb AlpertThe Adventures in Jazz Orchestra-vintage, commercial funk. Malone provides a thorough, seven-minute workout that is made orchestral by Montez Coleman's space-filling snare and bassist David Wong's elastic playing. The total package is for those who think Pat Metheny is too modern and Charlie Christian is too oldfashioned.
Russell Malone: guitar; David Wong: bass; Montez Coleman: drums.