The St. Louis-based label MAXJAZZ will release guitarist Russell Malone's latest CD Triple Play (pictured) on Tuesday, November 2.
The disc, which features the guitarist in a trio setting for the first time with East St. Louis' Montez Coleman on drums and David Wong on bass, is Malone's fourth release for MAXJAZZ. In addition to leading his own bands, Malone has worked with Jimmy Smith, Harry Connick, Jr., Diana Krall, Ron Carter's Golden Stryker Trio, Dianne Reeves and many others.
Malone is familiar to many St. Louis listeners from his previous performances at Jazz at the Bistro, and he'll be back here in a couple of weeks to promote Triple Play, playing Wednesday, October 20 through Saturday, October 23 at the Bistro. Tickets for those shows are on sale here.
On first listen, Triple Play impresses as a satisfying, seamless set of mainstream jazz guitar in the classic mode. Malone doesn't stray far from the familiar territory of bop, blues and ballads, but his execution is always tasteful and technically accomplished. His touch is deft; his tone tends toward timbres that are darker, but not dull; and he's got a sure sense of swing in a variety of grooves, with Coleman and Wong providing solid and sensitive accompaniment throughout.
Standout tracks include two Malone originals, the bossa nova-styled opener "Honeybone" and the blues-tinged, backbeat-propelled "Sweet Georgia Peach," as well as two songs from composers with St. Louis roots, Oliver Nelson's "Butch and Butch" and John Hicks' "Mind Wine."