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Russell Malone: Love Looks Good on You

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In his 11th album as a leader and his first for HighNote, Russell Malone demonstrates the clear, thoughtful tone, tasty phrase-making and rhythmic mastery that have made him one of today’s finest exponents of the mainstream jazz guitar tradition of Wes Montgomery, Grant Green and George Benson, his early idol.

Malone’s years as a sideman-supporting Jimmy Smith, Harry Connick Jr., Ray Brown, Diana Krall, Sonny Rollins and Dianne Reeves, among others-helped him to become a sensitive leader, a lyrical, sometimes dazzling soloist and, not incidentally, one of the most effective rhythm guitarists since Freddie Green. He puts all that experience to good use here in a forward-looking take on a backward-looking repertoire. His playing is sometimes bluesy, sometimes modern and athletic, but always anchored in good taste and a sense of decorum. An adroit quartet of pianist Rick Germanson, bassist Gerald Cannon and drummer Willie Jones III provides pitch-perfect support.

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