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Russell Malone Quartet at Jazz Standard
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Russell Malone Quartet at Jazz Standard

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner

Russell Malone Quartet
Jazz Standard
116 East 27th Street, NYC


Russell Malone on Guitar
Martin Bejarano on Piano
Tassilli Bond on Bass
Jonathan Blake on Drums

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 9 and September 11, 2005

The very talented Russell Malone and his dynamic and versatile quartet created quite some interest in this long weekend of multiple sets, and some of Malone’s fans traveled some distance to catch the band at Jazz Standard. Malone and the quartet were recording live this weekend, and they have some marvelous new tracks from which to choose. On Friday night, second set, romantic, dim lights and steady bass and drums showcased a waterfall of electric guitar music, with Martin Bejarano taking a rippling riff in between. Tassilli Bond, on bass, had just the right amount of prominence and ambient sound to enhance the poignancy of the moment.

Something’s Got to Give was played with fragmented and frivolous magic, with one guitar note strung out endlessly at times. When Bejarano carried the theme, he played right into Bond’s bass solo, with Malone’s soft guitar accompaniment. Malone then closed the standard with his expanded interpretation. Pecan Pie, introduced by Malone’s audience asides, had a lovely, lyrical theme. A New Age motif followed, with Middle Eastern references, and cacophonous dissonance ensued, like collective venting of emotions, a veritable, no-name jam work. Mirrors was contrastingly reflective and melancholy, an interior listening experience. Dripping, soulful music included soft, whispering echoes. Straight jazz ended this set, with Jonathan Blake, on driven and daring percussion, and an extra generous bass solo, as well.

Sunday night’s second set opened in a sassier, sexier style, and Bejarano took a long riff, after Malone, with melodic and thematic twists of familiar themes. Tenacious guitar trills could have been danceable, and the song ended on combined instruments. A rapid, more contemporary work followed, and the theme mesmerized with echoing passages. Always began with an endearing and elegant arrangement and tiny embedded guitar riffs. Bejarano followed Malone, and then a Bond-Bejarano duet ensued, a more bluesy interlude. Blake was on brushes throughout, and then the piano accompanied softly, as the bass took the lead once again. This was perhaps the most ethereal interpretation of Always, with a brilliant final flourish.

Pecan Pie, an obvious Malone favorite, found on his recordings, had a more reserved opening than on Friday, with no changes in key. Shifts in style seem to give these sets freshness and appeal. A dissonant cacophony followed, with wild piano followed by Malone’s persuasive riffs. Many moods and many motifs were showcased each night, but always with vibrancy and vivaciousness. Sugar Buzz was wild, with wanton drum riffs, and the dynamic guitar ended the piece.

As always, an introspective and romantic mood followed, layered and endearing, and Malone was showcased against the backdrop of a supportive, blended band. Malone’s solos were coy and confident. The final piece of the series was enhanced by guest guitarist, Ronnie Jordan, in a sensational jam, like a train on Tequila! You can check Jazz Standard’s Website to see upcoming events and performers.

Russell Malone Quartet at Jazz Standard
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Russell Malone and Ronnie Jordan
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at