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Triple Play by Russell Malone

Guitarist Russel Malone has maintained a prolific balance over the last couple of decades as both a leader and sideman to jazz luminaries, such as Diana Krall, Harry Connick, Jr. and Sonny Rollins. It comes as a surprise to realize that his ninth solo release Triple Play is his first trio project. With the stripped down line up of bassist David Wong and drummer Montez Coleman, Malone finds himself fully exposed without the cushion of a piano or organ. With a choice selection of standards and originals, however, the Georgia native proves highly capable of shaping the harmonic and rhythmic direction of each piece.

Fans of classic guitar trio recordings from the likes of Kenny Burrell, Barney Kessel and Tal Farlow will appreciate Malone's swinging approach, punctuating chord melody with single-note runs. There may not be anything conceptually new here, but Malone's sure-footedness and openness to express his fondness for the blues is captivating.

Stand-out tracks include Malone's own tunes such as the Latin-inspired "Honeybone" and "Pecan Pie," with a Stevie Wonder-style mix of chord and melody and Cole Porter's "Do I Love You" is an impressive display of ballad work while John Hick's "Mind Wine" is straight-ahead fun with interesting twists and turns.

All in all, Triple Play is a well conceived release that will appeal to both guitar aficionados and listeners of mainstream jazz.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Russell Malone
  • CD Title: Triple Play
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2010
  • Record Label: MaxJazz
  • Rating: Five Stars
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