Russell Malone

Wholly Cats

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Russell Malone recording this studio date for Venus in 1995, though it was several years before the Japanese label got around to issuing it. Joined by an excellent rhythm section consisting of Larry Willis, Rodney Whitaker, and Yoron Israel, Malone is not afraid to go into lengthy exploration of an old favorite like "I Concentrate on You." Malone delves into jazz compositions of several generations, including a furious take of Benny Goodman's "Wholly Cats," an easygoing interpretation of Mulgrew Miller's wistful ballad "Carousel," and a virtuoso performance of Thelonious Monk's challenging "Four in One." His one original is the strident "Chitlin Blues," a duo track with a delicious exchange between the guitarist and Whitaker's humorous arco bass. Among his unaccompanied selections are a spacious yet subtle rendition of the spiritual "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and an intricate treatment of "Yesterdays." Recommended.

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