Music Feedback
New This WeekAround TownMusicFilmArtTheaterNews & FeaturesFood & DrinkAstrology
  HOME
NEW THIS WEEK
EDITORS' PICKS
LISTINGS
NEWS & FEATURES
MUSIC
FILM
ART
BOOKS
THEATER
DANCE
TELEVISION
FOOD & DRINK
ARCHIVES
LETTERS
PERSONALS
CLASSIFIEDS
ADULT
ASTROLOGY
PHOENIX FORUM DOWNLOAD MP3s

  E-Mail This Article to a Friend
Benny Green and Russell Malone
JAZZ AT THE BISTRO
(TELARC)

Stars graphics

Like jugglers pitching pins back and forth across a stage, guitarist Russell Malone and pianist Benny Green trade roles effortlessly throughout this duet set recorded over four nights last summer in St. Louis. When they’re not racing step for step on an impossibly fast melody, as they do on Paul Chambers’s "Tale of the Fingers," then one will hold down the chord changes while the other improvises.

Malone, a Jimmy Smith organ-combo and Diana Krall alum, has a warm, pure tone far removed from jagged John Scofield or æthereal Bill Frisell. He is easily the more dynamic of the pair here, and his solos shine brighter and dip deeper into the blues. Green, who boasts enviable technique and knowledge, has taken on an older and more sedate style since his burning days with Art Blakey and Betty Carter.

Although the duet setting does not lend itself to a lot of fireworks, we do get a stellar lesson in jazz alchemy. Like Malone’s best solos, the song list offers a number of surprises. One sequence goes from the Roberta Flack hit "Killing Me Softly" to the Bee Gees’ "How Deep Is Your Love?", then to Billy Strayhorn’s delicate "The Intimacy of the Blues" and finally John Coltrane’s "Moment’s Notice/Lazy Bird."

BY BILL KISLIUK

Issue Date: February 6 - 13, 2003
Back to the Music table of contents.

  E-Mail This Article to a Friend