Russell Malone's second CD for Maxjazz Live at Jazz Standard, Vol. 1 has a bit of a harder edge then Playground, his first session for the label. Well accompanied by pianist Martin Bejerano, bassist Tassili Bond and drummer Jonathan Blake on this live performances at the Jazz Standard, the guitarist focuses mostly on his challenging originals. "I Saw You Do It" is a marvelous example, an intricate, boundary stretching affair that is essentially a blues intermingled with post-bop and a touch of dissonance, while the breezy "Flirt" is more easygoing, built from a call and response pair of riffs that are developed into a full-fledged work. Malone's choice of Frank Rosolino's "Blue Daniel" may turn a few heads as he slowly transforms it from a jazz waltz setting into a cooking hard bop vehicle. He finally shares his lyrical side with a beautiful interpretation of Milt Jackson's "Heartstrings" that perfectly conveys its bittersweet message. Highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden