Russell Malone

Born: November 8, 1963    Primary Instrument: Guitar, electric

Russell Malone

Russell Malone's first guitar was a plastic green toy his mother bought him. Only four years old, Malone strummed the little guitar all day long for days on end trying to emulate the sounds he had heard from guitarists at church in Albany, Georgia. As a child, Malone developed an interest in blues and country music after seeing musicians on television like Chet Atkins, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Roy Clark, Son Seals, and B.B. King. Then, at age 12, he saw George Benson perform with Benny Goodman on Soundstage. Malone has said, “I knew right then and there that I wanted to play this music.”...
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“Russell Malone’s lyrical guitar work has projected him into the mainstream of jazz guitar. Having dazzling technique erupt at will, as well as melodic, mellow ballad material, Malone shows extraordinary skill across his six strings. His skillful interpretations stir the imagination while igniting the soul.” ~ Jazz St. Louis

“Lyricism remains a vital part of Malone's music, and he certainly has achieved a unique guitar voice in jazz's mainstream. His powerful technique erupts when he wants it to, while his warm and mellow ballad material rests comfortably on yearning ears.” ~~ Jim Santella, All About Jazz

“Where Russell Malone channeled Grant Green on the first half of this live set, Live at The Jazz Standard, Volume 1, the guitarist comes fully into his own on Live at The Jazz Standard, Volume 2. There is only one real “standard” in the set, Malone's shimmering take on Irving Berlin's “How About Me.” The remainder of the recording is all Malone with some thoughtfully selected vehicles.” ~~ C. Michael Bailey, All About Jazz

“Although he possesses dazzling technique, Malone is a highly melodic and lyrical player who eschews pyrotechnical displays.” ~~ (Not sure who wrote it, but it is being used on Russell Malone's concert write-ups. klbw)


Release Date: November 2, 2010
Recorded on January 13-14, 2010, at Systems Two, Brooklyn, NY
Tracks: 1) Honeybone; 2) Butch and Butch (Oliver Nelson); 3) Pecan Pie; 4) Sweet Georgia Peach; 5) Do I Love You? (A 1939 popular song written by Cole Porter, for his musical DuBarry Was a Lady, where it was introduced by Ronald Graham and Ethel Merman); 6) Pocket Watch (Does this song have any connection to the Musical Pocket Watch played in Clint Eastwood's For A Few Dollars More?); 7) The Witching Hour (the late-night Kansas City stroll by Quincy Jones) 8) Tail Feathers (Ron Carter, Russell's Golden Striker Trio leader, featured on Ron Carter's 2002 Blue Note release Stardust); 9) The Kind of Girl She Is (Bergman/Grusin composition ~ Jack Jones provided the vocals to this theme song of Funny Face); 10) Mind Wine (A 2007 recording from the John Hicks Legacy Band); 11) Unchained Melody (A 1955 popular song with music by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret ~ Swing band pianist Les Baxter released an instrumental version which reached #2 ~ It was the July 1965 version by The Righteous Brothers that became a jukebox standard for the late 20th century.)
Personnel: Russell Malone, producer, guitar; David Wong, bass; Montez Coleman, drums.
Of Special Note: The CD Release Event and special performances was be held at Jazz At The Bistro in St. Louis, Missouri, October 20-23, 2010; There are a total of eleven tracks, four of which are Russell Malone originals. "Sweet Georgia Peach" was first recorded as the title track on Sweet Georgia Peach (1998); "Pecan Pie" is being released here for the first time, even though Russell has been performing it since 2005. Russell Malone's version of the ever-popular Righteous Brothers tune, "Unchained Melody" has received rave reviews in his recent concert performances.
Quote: "We feel privileged and honored to share this gift of music with you." ~ Russell Malone, a personal statement from the liner notes.
Guitar: Sadowsky LS-17

Release Date: July 17, 2007
Recorded live on September 9-11, 2005, at Jazz Standard, NYC.
Tracks: Mugshot; For The Love Of You; Theme From Gunsmoke; How About Me?; Don't Point That Over Here; Playground; Sugar Buzz.
Personnel: Russell Malone, producer and arranger, guitar; Martin Bejerano, piano; Tassili Bond, bass; Johnathan Blake, drums.
Of Special Note: This is the continuing "sequel" to Live At Jazz Standard Volume One (2006); The CD release party and special performances were held at Jazz At The Bistro in St. Louis, Missouri, July 20-21, 2007; Four of the seven tracks are Russell Malone originals, with the exception of "Don't Point That Over Here" which is credited with being "composed" by not only Russell, but also his quartet members of Martin Bejerano, Tassili Bond, and Johnathan Blake; "Mugshot" was first recorded as the opening track on Sweet Georgia Peach (1998); "How About Me?" is an Irving Berlin tune that Russell recorded for Heartstrings (2001); "Playground" and "Sugar Buzz" are both on Playground (2004).
Quote: "Styles become dated. Style doesn't." ~ Russell Malone.
Guitar: Gibson Custom L-5

Release Date: October 10, 2006 (September 26 - Pre-release date)
Recorded live on September 9-11, 2005, at Jazz Standard, NYC.
Tracks: He Said What?; I Saw You Do It; Flirt; Blue Daniel; Mean Streak; Heartstrings; Malone Blues.
Personnel: Russell Malone, producer and arranger, guitar; Martin Bejerano, piano; Tassili Bond, bass; Johnathan Blake, drums.
Of Special Note: This is Russell Malone's first "Live" recording as a leader; This recording includes five Russell Malone original compositions; Three different Russell Malone versions of Milt Jackson's "Heartstrings" have been recorded, including this live version in September 2005, another was in 2002 for Ray Brown's Some Of My Best Friends Are Guitarists, and the first time was on Russell's 2001 Heartstrings.
Dedication: Russell dedicated this record to the memories of John Hicks and Ted Greene.
Quote: "Music, to me, is not math or science. It is a language." ~ Russell Malone.
Guitar: Gibson Custom L-5

Recorded on August 28-29, 2003, at Avatar Studios, NYC.
Tracks: You Should Know Better; Blues For Mulgrew; Something To Live For; Sugar Buzz; Playground; Remind Me; We've Only Just Begun; Invisible Colors; Mandela; You've Got A Friend.
Personnel: Russell Malone, producer and arranger, guitar; Martin Bejerano, piano; Tassili Bond, bass; E. J. Strickland, drums; Joe Locke, vibes on Sugar Buzz; Gary Bartz, saxophone on Mandela.
Of Special Note: This Enhanced CD includes a Bonus CD-ROM Video Track of Russell Malone and his quartet of Martin Bejerano-piano, Tassili Bond-bass, and Montez Coleman-drums (who does not play on the CD) performing "Mugshot" at Smoke, NYC, on November 21, 2003; Six of the ten songs on this record are Russell Malone originals; This was Malone's debut album for MAXJAZZ's Strings Series.
Dedication: Russell dedicated this recording to the memories of Benny Carter, John Collins, Nathen Page and Ray Brown. (Russell also dedicated Sweet Georgia Peach (1998) to John Collins who passed away on October 4, 2001.)
Quote: "Live life and play music like it's your last day on Earth. One day you'll be right." ~ Russell Malone.
Guitar: D'Angelico New Yorker on seven tracks. Russell plays his Gibson Super 5 on "Blues For Mulgrew," "Sugar Buzz," and "Remind Me." (Thank you, Russell.)

Recorded January 15 & 16, 2001, at Avatar Studios, NYC; String sections recorded February 27 and March 28, 2001, at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA.
Tracks: Heartstrings; How About Me; Loved Ones; You Needed Me; Handful Of Stars; Wind in the Willow; Why Try To Change Me Now; The Bad And The Beautiful; Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry; What A Friend We Have In Jesus.
Personnel: Russell Malone, guitar; Kenny Barron, piano; Christian McBride, bass; Jeff "Tain" Watts, drums; String arrangements by Johnny Mandel, Dori Caymmi and Alan Broadbent. All songs arranged by Russell Malone.
Of Special Note: This is Kenny Barron's second appearance on a Russell Malone recording — the first was Sweet Georgia Peach (1998); "Loved Ones" is the only Russell Malone original composition on this album; This album is also available as a Japanese Import which includes the Bonus Track, "Flowers For Emmett Till," a Malone composition first recorded on Russell Malone for Columbia, 1992; Russell Malone performed "What A Friend We Have In Jesus" in a duet with Jimmy Owens on trumpet at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem for the live recording of A Great Night In Harlem, released by Playboy Jazz/Concord Records in 2002.
Dedication: Russell dedicated this album to the memories of Milt Jackson and Stanley Turrentine.
Guitar: D'Angelico New Yorker

Recorded by Al Schmitt, May 3-5, 1999, at Clinton Recording (Studio A), New York.
Tracks: The Angle; Look Who's Here; Alfie; The Odd Couple; Soulful Kisses; Get Out Of Town; You Will Know; The Heather On The Hill; An Affair To Remember; Be Careful, It's My Heart (Vocal).
Personnel: Russell Malone, guitar, vocals on "Be Careful, It's My Heart;" Anthony Wonsey, piano; Richie Goods, bass; Byron Landham, drums.
Of Special Note: There are three original songs by Russell Malone on this disc; Russell Malone sings for only the second time in his recording career as a leader on "Be Careful, It's My Heart;" Russell also recorded a more laid-back, slower-paced version of "Look Who's Here" for the 2002 Telarc release of Ray Brown/Monty Alexander/Russell Malone, Ray Brown's final recording before his death; The Japanese Import of this disc released on Impulse! includes a Bonus Track of "The Two Lonely People," not found on any other RM recording.
Guitar: Buscarino Virtuoso is photographed for the cover art, but the Gibson Super 5 is (also) used.

August 1998
Recorded February 17-19, 1998, at Avatar Studios, NYC.
Tracks: Mugshot; To Benny Golson; Strange Little Smile/With You I'm Born Again; Sweet Georgia Peach; Rise; Mean What You Say; Song For Darius; Bright Mississippi; Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat; For Toddlers Only.
Personnel: Russell Malone, guitar; Ron Carter, bass; Kenny Barron, piano; Lewis Nash, drums; Steve Kroon, percussion on "Mugshot" and "Rise."
Of Special Note: Five of the songs here are Russell Malone originals; "Song for Darius" was written for Russell's son; "For Toddlers Only" is a composition of Ron Carter's — who plays bass on this album, and with whom Russell went on to record The Golden Striker in 2003 and tours as "The Golden Striker Trio" along with pianist, Mulgrew Miller; The Japanese Import release includes a Bonus Track of the song, "Yesterdays," which is also on the Japanese-only 1999 Venus release of Russell Malone's Wholly Cats; "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" is also on Wholly Cats.
Dedication: Russell dedicated this recording to John Collins and Barney Kessell.
Liner Notes: Bob Blumenthal, "The flow of this music, the way that its unshaken focus on melody adds an extra kick while simultaneously gliding over the wrinkles and ridges that give the tracks character, mirrors Malone's open attitude." Russell Malone, "The world needs [to hear] what Russell Malone has to say for himself, and the surest way to find your own voice is to write."
Guitar: Buscarino Virtuoso and Buscarino Monarch (According to John Buscarino's website)

Venus (Japanese-only Release)
1999 Release Date
1995 Recording Date
Recorded July 18-19, 1995, at Clinton Recording Studio "A" in New York.
Tracks: Wholly Cats; I Concentrate On You; Carousel; Swing Low, Sweet Chariot; Off The Top; Four In One; After All; Chitlin Blues; Yesterdays.
Personnel: Russell Malone, "electric" guitar (interesting distinction); Larry Willis, piano; Rodney Whittaker, bass; Yoron Israel, drums.
Of Special Note: "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" also appears on Sweet Georgia Peach (1998); "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" is a song very close to Russell's heart — he played it at his grandfather's funeral and also at Lionel Hampton's funeral service; This album is the only Russell Malone recording released solely as a Japanese Import; Recorded in July of 1995, it was not released until 1999; "Chitlin Blues" is the only Russell Malone original tune here; "Yesterdays" was also the Bonus Track on the Japanese release of Sweet Georgia Peach.
Liner Notes: They are in Japanese! Translations, anyone?.
Guitar: Ibanez FA300NT

Recorded by Gregg Rubin on March 18-20, 1993, at Sony Music Studios, NYC.
Tracks: Jingles; With Kenny In Mind; Dee's Song; Cedar Tree; After Her Bath; I Say A Little Prayer For You; Black Butterfly; All Through The Night: The Other Man's Grass Is Always Greener; Gaslight; Sno' Peas.
Personnel: Russell Malone, guitar; Gary Motley, piano; Paul Keller, bass; Peter Siers, drums; Steve Nelson, vibes on "With Kenny In Mind" and "Cedar Tree."
Of Special Note: There are three original Russell Malone songs on this recording; Russell recorded another version of "Cedar Tree" for the 2003 Blue Note recording, The Golden Striker with Ron Carter and Mulgrew Miller, who tour together as "The Golden Striker Trio;" "After Her Bath" was written for Russell's daughter, born in December, 1992; "With Kenny In Mind" is a dedication to another guitarist Russell has admired, Kenny Burrell.
Liner Notes: Leonard Feather, "Here is an artist...who is destined to make a powerful mark in the evolution of jazz guitar."
Guitar: Ibanez FA300NT

Recorded August 19-21, December 7 & 9, 1991, and March 25, 1992, at BMG Studios, NY
Tracks: Wives and Lovers; Invisible Colors; When I Take My Sugar To Tea; It's The Talk Of The Town; St. Louis Blues; I Don't Know Enough About You (Vocal); Close Your Eyes; London By Night; I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me; Moonlight Serenade; Flowers For Emmett Till; Precious Lord.
Personnel: Russell Malone, electric, acoustic, and classical guitars, vocals on "I Don't Know Enough About You;" Donald Brown, piano; Harry Connick, Jr., piano; Milt Hinton, bass; Robert Leslie Hurst III, bass; Yoron Israel, drums; Shannon Powell, drums.
Of Special Note: Two Russell Malone original songs are on this recording; Harry Connick, Jr., plays piano on two songs, and you can hear Harry shouting at Russell, "Oh, play me some guitar!" on "I Don't Know Enough About You," which is Russell's first vocal recording as a leader; Russell was touring and recording with Harry Connick, Jr., at this time in his career; "Flowers For Emmett Till" would be recorded again for the Japanese release of Heartstrings (2001), and in 2004 for Bluebird, Russell's second piano/guitar duo album with Benny Green; Milt Hinton not only plays bass here, but writes the liner notes as well; Russell plays seven cuts on electric guitar, four on acoustic, and "Flowers For Emmett Till" is played on a Ramirez classical.
Liner Notes: Milt Hinton, "Russell's a very personable young man. He's intelligent, articulate, and well-rounded. His decisions to use an electric or acoustic instrument on a particular piece are impeccable."
Guitars: Ibanez FA300NT, Gibson Byrdland, a Gibson acoustic, and the classical guitar Russell plays on "Flowers For Emmett Till" is a Ramirez. (Thank you, Russell.)

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Primary Instrument:
Guitar, electric

Jersey City, NJ


Russell Malone was using his Gibson Custom L-5 for most performances and on his Live At Jazz Standard, Volumes One and Two releases of 2006 and 2007 (MAXJAZZ).

In 2009, Mr. Malone switched to using a Sadowsky LS-17, which he now endorses. Visit the Sadowsky website to see Mr. Malone's artist page there.

Check the "Discography" page here, and each recording lists the guitar(s) used for that recording.

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