With a new CD coming out next month, and four night of performances scheduled Wednesday, October 20 through Saturday October 23 at Jazz at the Bistro, it seems like a good time to make guitarist Russell Malone the subject of our weekly video feature. Though there's no footage extant of Malone fronting his own trio - something he's doing for the first time on record on his new disc, Triple Play - we did manage to find some tasty clips of him in several other contexts.
First up is a video of Malone with bassist Ron Carter's trio in 2006 at a concert in Germany. Pianist Jacky Terrasson gets the first solo on the tune, "NY Slick," and then the guitar kicks in about the 3:30 mark. As you'd expect, it's a very accomplished ride, but what's really fascinating about this particular performance is the variety of timbral effect Malone coaxes from his guitar, ranging from a harp-like glissando in the middle of his turn to a surprisingly effective simulation of conga drums behind Terrasson's solo.
Down below in the first embedded video window, Malone conjures a travelogue of blues guitar styles as a solo introduction to a version of "Route 66" sung by his former employer, pianist Diana Krall. Below that, you can get a taste of Malone's ballad style as he plays a duo version of "Embraceable You" with another former boss, singer Dianne Reeves.
Finally, in the fourth clip you can see Malone fronting his own quartet in a sprightly performance of his tune "Flirt," recorded a couple of years ago at the Rio das Ostras Jazz e Blues Festival in Brazil. (Note the crowd response when Malone quotes "Girl From Ipanema" in his solo.) This was shot by an audience member with a handheld video camera, so the picture gets wobbly at some points and, for some reason, it cuts off just before the end of the song, but the audio quality is more than adequate.