Album Remarks & Appraisals:
On Triple Play, his fourth string series release for MAXJAZZ and his ninth as a leader, Russell Malone once again cements his reputation as a pre-eminent jazz guitarist, composer and bandleader. Malone reaches new heights with the help of two fantastic musicians in bassist David Wong and drummer Montez Coleman.
"Considering all that guitarist Russell Malone has accomplished throughout his career, it seems remarkable that he has not made a trio recording until now.Triple Play strongly suggests this may be his ideal format. His nuanced way of exploring melodies and shifting his tone resonates with more clarity fronting bassist David Wong and drummer Montez Coleman. Malone's sense of space is particularly stunning when set alongside Coleman's cymbal hits on Cole Porter's "Do I Love You." He reaffirms his own strengths as a composer on the indelible "Pecan Pie" and more uptempo "Sweet Georgia Peach." There are also inspired, and unexpected, song selections, like John Hicks' "Mind Wine" and Oliver Nelson's "Butch And Butch," which Malone, Wong and Coleman sound like they're having much fun tearing through." -DownBeat
Down Beat (p.57) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Malone is always ready with a slightly tart aside or rhythmic twist."
JazzTimes (p.56) - "Malone never throws away a note, and he judiciously orders and arranges them as well, as on the standout original 'Pecan Pie.'"
Personnel: Russell Malone (guitar); Montez Coleman (drums).
Audio Mixer: Katsuhiko Naito.
Liner Note Author: Russell Malone.
Recording information: Systems Two, Brooklyn, NY (01/13/2010/01/14/2010).
Photographer: Jimmy Ryan .
Arranger: Russell Malone.
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, Malone kicks off with his breezy bossa nova "Honeybone," which blends in a funky flavor and a bit of the blues. Malone's easygoing ballad "Pecan Pie" is an engaging melody worthy of a tasty lyric, while he showcases Coleman in his funky "Sweet Georgia Peach." The guitarist uncovered several gems by earlier jazz artists, including the late John Hicks' hip bop vehicle "Mind Wine" and Oliver Nelson's early-'60s intricate "Butch and Butch," both of which the trio interprets with flair. Malone's excursions into forgotten standards include an intimate setting of Cole Porter's "Do I Love You" and a moving solo interpretation of Alex North's hit "Unchained Melody" (the latter which has been recorded many times but infrequently by jazz artists). All in All, Triple Play is an impressive outing by Russell Malone. ~ Ken Dryden
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