Russell Malone

Last night I saw one of the most amazing jazz shows I’ve ever been to! It was held at the Christ Church Cathedral on Burrard which is a historic Anglican church, perfect for an intimate jazz show with two legendary guitarists.

Bill Frisell teamed up with Russell Malone for this show. Russell is most famous for playing guitar in Diana Krall’s band and stole last night’s show with his facial expressions and the funny stuff he said. When he was introducing one of the songs, Four in One by Thelonious Monk, he explained it was “more complicated than a mixed marriage in Mississippi!” He wasn’t kidding either. When they started that song Russell’s fingers started flying as fast as a hummingbird’s wings. I’ve never, ever heard anyone play that fast.

Bill and Russell have different styles of playing but the mix of the two sounded incredible. Especially since they didn’t limit themselves to typical jazz fare. Some bluesy material made an appearance and they’d spice it up with some improv in the middle. My favorite: near the end of one song Russell tossed in the Smoke on the Water riff by Deep Purple!

4 thoughts on “Russell Malone”

  1. Thank you for sharing your insights into this wonderful guitar duo.

    I saw both shows Wednesday night at the Triple Door in Seattle, in addition to flying into Yoshi’s/Oakland to see them play when Russell was filling in for Jim Hall (which is how this all started).

    Did Bill play the Gibson Johnny Smith? I think he is adorable with that smile and those colorfully striped socks.

    I love Russell’s jokes, raunchy as they may be. And I also agree that he steals any show he plays in.

    I am mezmerized watching Russell’s finger move!

    Kandie Webster in Washington State ~~ jazzylover59

  2. Bill’s socks were pretty sweet!

    I’m not a guitar guy so I can’t speak to his specific guitar other than to say it looked to my untrained eye like a Gibson hollowbody.

    It’s pretty awesome you got to see them in Seattle. I had no idea Russell was filling in for Jim Hall. It was fortunate for us he did because I got to find out about Russell.

  3. Sounds like Russell has made a new fan.

    I clicked on your link to Russell Malone. Thanks for using the Wikipedia page. I have been an editor for that page, and added the photo a few months ago.

    Russell also has a musician profile page on All About Jazz that I am the editor for. The discography page is my pride and joy. Every album Russell has recorded as a leader since 1992 and extra special notes on each.

    Kandie Webster in Washington State ~ jazzylover59

  4. That was a great Wikipedia article! I linked to it because I felt it was a better writup than his “official” page.

    That’s quite a page you set up on All About Jazz! If you were to recommend a first album to get of Russell’s, which would it be?

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