The first time I really heard the guitar of Russell Malone was one night a while back when I stumbled upon this video of Malone, Christian McBride and Benn Green performing Wes Montgomery;s “Jingles” and I was blown away by his talent!! (and McBride and Green’s talent too!!)
Anyway, today I get to say Happy Birthday to Mr Malone!
Russell Malone was born on this date in 1963 in Albany Georgia…and is
is an essentially self-taught swing and bebop jazz guitarist. He began working with Jimmy Smith in 1988, and went on to work with Harry Connick, Jr. and Diana Krall throughout the 1990s.
and here’s some Malone’s career from Wikipedia:
Malone began playing at the age of four in his home of Albany, Georgia, with a toy guitar his mother had bought him, influenced by musicians such as B.B. King and The Dixie Hummingbirds. However, he cites that the most influential musical experience he had as a youth was “[At the age of twelve] seeing George Benson perform on television…with Benny Goodman.” He learned technique from listening to recordings of Benson, Wes Montgomery, and Charlie Christian, among others.
Malone played with jazz organist Jimmy Smith from 1988-1990. He then joined the Harry Connick Jr. Big Band from 1989-1994. In 1995, Malone became part of the Diana Krall trio, participating in three Grammy-nominated albums, the final one in 1999, “When I Look In Your Eyes,” winning Best Vocal Jazz Performance. Malone was part of jazz pianistBenny Green’s recordings in the late 1990s and 2000: “Kaleidoscope” (1997), “These Are Soulful Days” (1999), and “Naturally” (2000). The two formed a duo partnership, releasing the live recording, “Jazz At The Bistro” in 2003, and the studio recording “Bluebird” in 2004. The duo toured until 2007.
Malone tours regularly as leader of The Russell Malone Quartet, and more recently in support of “Triple Play” (2010) of the Russell Malone Trio. When touring the US, Canada, Japan, and Europe, South America, and Australia, he can be seen in appearances with Dianne Reeves and Romero Lubambo and tours frequently with legendary bassist Ron Carteras part of the Golden Striker Trio often featuring Mulgrew Miller at piano. Other special guest appearances have included Malone with vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, pianist Hank Jones (in celebration of his 90th birthday). October, 2008, found Russell Malone in duo at Yoshi’s in Oakland, California, with fellow jazz guitarist and Grammy-winner Bill Frisell. The duo toured once again in February, 2009, in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. In 2010, Malone became a member of the band for saxophonist Sonny Rollins, (celebrating his 80th birthday in New York in September).Full Biography
I think I’ll try to make Russell’s 2010 release Triple Play my morning soundtrack!! Here’s what they say about Triple Play at AllMusic
Russell Malone’s Triple Play is a notable session because it mixes his infectious originals with a number of decades-old songs that have unjustly been overlooked. Superbly accompanied by bassist David Wong and drummer Montez Coleman
Triple Play is an impressive outing by Russell Malone. Read More
Sounds good to me!! So Happy 50th Birthday, Russell Malone. Here’s Russell performing with Diana Krall – “Get Your Kicks On Route 66”