Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Russell Malone

The new jazz musicians, that made a name for theirselves during the 1990s, are labeled as Young Lions. One of these young cats is Russell Malone, a guitar player born in the south of the US in 1963.

His carreer started in the Gospel Crusaders and with Al Rylander. In the 1980s he learned the jazz and played with Thumbs Carlisle and Clarence Carter. Late 1980s he spent two years with Jimmy Smith and early 1990s he was part of Harry Connick's orchestra and toured with Diana Krall. In 1992 he started to make his own recordings.

He says he wanted to play jazz at the moment he heard George Benson playing at a television program with Benny Goodman. He bought all records of him he could find.

In 1997 he is part of Roy HargroveĀ“s Crisol on his Habana album, but he is not in the band when they visit the Porgy & Bess Jazz Club in Terneuzen (The Netherlands) in November 1997.

Russell Malone is also one of the members of the jam band in the film Kansas City. A great film, especially the documentary Jazz '34 that was released after the film. I will reserve that documentary film for a blog later, as it contains a lot of great musicians, like Russell Malone.

Last night I enjoyed one of his own CDs, titled Playground. It is a great CD. Russell Malone plays with a quintet, featuring Martin Bejerano (p), Tassili Bond (b), E.J. Strickland (dm), Joe Locke (vib) and good old veteran Gary Bartz on alto. The music is well balanced and I love the solo pieces with Russell on guitar, like Remind Me.

It's a pity that nowadays producers, as usual in other music styles, leave the recording date from the liner notes. I think the recording date is essential information on a jazz CD. The CD must be from 2002 ( as the copyrights suggest)

Listen to the music on the MaxJazz site.

The CD contains also a video bonus track with a quartet.

Hans Koert


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