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Malone, Russell

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A native of Albany, Georgia, Russell Malone grew up influenced by the deep spirituals of his childhood church environment. He received his first guitar - "a green plastic four-string" - at the age of four. A major turning point came when he saw B.B. King play "How Blue Can You Get" on the popular 1970s TV show "Sanford and Son". That experience led him to listen to more blues, country music, and jazz, and artists like Chet Atkins, Johnny Cash, Wes Montgomery and George Benson.  A self-taught player, he progressed well enough to land a gig with master organist Jimmy Smith when he was 25. ("It made me realize that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was," Malone recalls of his first on-stage jam with Smith.) After two years with Smith, he hooked up with Harry Connick Jr.’s orchestra, a position he held from 1990-94. But Malone also worked in a variety of contexts, performing with artists as diverse as Clarence Carter, Little Anthony, Peabo Bryson, Mulgrew Miller, Kenny Barron, Roy Hargorve, The Winans, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Bucky Pizzarelli, and Jack McDuff.  Along the way, Malone made a name for himself with a sound that combines the bluesy sould of Grant Green and Kenny Burrell with the relentless attack of Django Reinhardt and Pat Martino.  Born in Albany, Georgia, Russell Malone grew up playing a variety of music. Eventually, he made jazz his main focus, but he never lost his appreciation of other styles. Malone, who now lives in New Jersey, was 25 when, in 1988, he was hired as a sideman by the seminal organist Jimmy Smith. He went on to back Harry Connick, Jr. ('s where I learned of his existence) from 1990-1994 and spent four years working with Verve labelmate Diana Krall, in addition to guesting on numerous recordings.

 

Malone first recorded as a leader in 1992, when he provided his self-titled debut album for Columbia. Subsequently, Malone recorded Black Butterfly for Columbia in 1993, Wholly Cats for Japan’s Venus label in 1995, Sweet Georgia Peach for Impulse! in 1998, and Look Who’s Here for Verve in 1999.  Ron Carter is among the most original, prolific, and influential bassists in jazz. With more than 2,000 albums to his credit, he has recorded with many of music's greats: Tommy Flanagan, Gil Evans, Lena Horne, Bill Evans, B.B. King, the Kronos Quartet, Dexter Gordon, Wes Montgomery, and Bobby Timmons. In the early 1960s he performed throughout the United States in concert halls and nightclubs with Jaki Byard and Eric Dolphy. He later toured Europe with Cannonball Adderley. From 1963 to 1968, he was a member of the classic and acclaimed Miles Davis Quintet.  He was named Outstanding Bassist of the Decade by the Detroit News, Jazz Bassist of the Year by Downbeat magazine, and Most Valuable Player by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. In 1993 Ron Carter earned a Grammy award for Best Jazz Instrumental Group, the Miles Davis Tribute Band and another Grammy in 1998 for Call 'Sheet Blues', an instrumental composition from the film 'Round Midnight. In addition to scoring and arranging music for many films, including some projects for Public Broadcasting System, Carter has composed music for A Gathering of Old Men, starring Lou Gosset Jr., The Passion of Beatrice directed by Bertrand Tavernier, and Blind Faith starring Courtney B. Vance. 

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