Happy Birthday Russell Malone

November 8, 1963

A tribute to the swinging guitarist

Guitarist Russell Malone was born November 8, 1963 in Albany, Georgia.

Originally interested in blues and country music, Malone turned towards jazz when he was 12 after seeing George Benson play with Benny Goodman on television.

Self-taught, Malone worked locally in Georgia until he toured with Jimmy Smith (1988-90) and the Harry Connick Big Band (1991-94).

The guitarist guested with such notables as Mulgrew Miller, Kenny Barron, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson and Jack McDuff, recording his own albums starting in 1992.

Malone became well-known during his stint with Diana Krall (1995-99).

Since that time he has led his own quartet and worked with such notables as Roy Hargrove (in the Cristol big band), Bill Frisell, Ron Carter’s Golden Striker Trio, Dianne Reeves, Sonny Rollins and a duo with Benny Green.

Here is Russell Malone, in a trio with pianist Benny Green and bassist Christian McBride, playing Wes Montgomery’s “Jingles” in 1999.

-Scott Yanow