Russell Malone

Sweet Georgia Peach

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During part of the 1990s, Russell Malone put his solo career on the back burner as he toured the world as an important part of Diana Krall's trio. Since he was scheduled to break away from Krall at the end of 1998, the release of this solo album was a timely event. With a couple of exceptions, the emphasis here is on slower tempos and relaxed moods. There are no swing standards included other than "Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat," and only "Sweet Georgia Peach" (which is a bit funky) and Thelonious Monk's "Bright Mississippi" (based on the chords of "Sweet Georgia Brown") are taken at faster speeds. The latter, a Malone duet with pianist Kenny Barron, is easily this CD's high point. Of the repertoire, the guitarist contributed five of the ten numbers and is also heard exploring Thad Jones' "Mean What You Say," "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," and a couple of obscurities. Malone and Barron are joined by bassist Ron Carter and drummer Lewis Nash throughout the melodic, often melancholy, and generally wistful outing. Although it would have been better if there were more tempo variations and some heated selections, this is a tasteful effort, and Russell Malone does have a beautiful tone on his guitar.

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