Born November 8th 1963 in Albany, Georgia, Malone began playing guitar at the age of four. Malone, has worked as a sideman for Jimmy Smith, backed Harry Connick, Jr. and spent some time playing with Diana Krall as well. Russell's CD releases include between 1992 and 2001: Russell Malone, Black Butterfly, Sweet Georgia Peach, and Look Who's Here.
For his most recent project, "Heartstrings," Malone has put together a quartet including Kenny Barron, Christian McBride, and Jeff Watts. Malone says that "I've always felt that jazz is the way in which something is done. The material can come from everywhere."
Heartstrings is a contemporary jazz with strings CD that includes 10 cuts. The quartet (Malone on guitar, Kenny Baron on the piano, bassist Christian McBride and Jeff "Tain" Watts on the drums), works through a wide range of material, from Irving Berlin's " How About Me,"
to the gospel favorite "What a Friend We Have in Jesus."
Also worth a listen is the music legend-David Raskin's "The Bad and the Beautiful."
I particularly enjoyed the quartet's arrangement of the Sammy Cahn (aka Samuel Cohen) "Guess I'll hang my tears out to dry,"
while the bluesy side of Malone gets to come out a bit on the title cut.
Malone was thrilled with the chemistry of the quartet. In fact he says, "The quartet went in the studio without doing any rehearsing. We did most of the tunes in one take."
Heartstrings dedicated by Malone, to Milt Jackson and Stanley Turentine is a testament to the quality of results that can be achieved when you play music with a perspective that, what makes music jazz is the way you approach it. So if you want a CD to put up on the box that is just easy going and mellow, pick up Heartstrings.