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Heartstrings

4.2 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 7, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

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Guitarist Russ Malone got his breaks backing crooners Harry Connick and Diana Krall, but with his mellow Georgia style and slow-smoked grooves, he's well on his way to a solo career. This all-ballad date is built around a sumptuous and hallowed string orchestra with more-than-capable arrangers at the helm: pianist Alan Broadbent, guitarist Dori Caymmi, and composer Johnny Mandel. With virtually every tune taken at a somnolent tempo, the date becomes more the moody sleeper than it need have been, despite Malone's occasional deft double-timing ("Wind in the Willow") and soaring ("Why Try to Change Me Now?"). A feather-light rhythm trio "features" veteran sideman Kenny Barron, whose piano barely peeks into the limelight. Established young groovemeisters Christian McBride (tip-toeing in baby elephant shoes), and Jeff "Tain" Watts (brushes only!) don't merely coast, but tip their knowing hands into nudging along rare old standards like Irving Berlin's "How About Me" and David Raksin's "The Bad and the Beautiful." Hearing Malone caressing the late Milt Jackson's title ballad may well draw similarities with Joe Pass's stunning technical wizardry and George Benson's deep-blue silk. We wouldn't be surprised (but might be delighted) to hear Russ unveil his own mellifluous baritone here and there on some date soon. Heartstrings might score points as a classic "make-out" album à la Johnny Mathis, except perhaps when Malone's deeply devotional side emerges on a final familiar hymn ("What a Friend We Have in Jesus"). --Fred Bouchard
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 7, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Umvd Labels
  • ASIN: B00005M1CB
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,991 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The songs are stunning, Russell's tone is lush and warm, and for those who have trouble with orchestral treatments in jazz, the orchestra seems to float in the background simply supporting the music rather than overpowering it. An instant classic.
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Format: Audio CD
Well, I have to say that I both aggree and disagree with the previous reviewer. I you are a looking for a CD of more uptempo swinging jazz tunes, then yes, get another Russell Malone CD. Or, if you are looking for a CD of heartfelt ballads with the signature stunning touch of virtousity that Russell Malone adds with his flawless guitar technique and wonderful sense of harmony, then get this CD......It is what it is, an excellent CD of ballads with strings to accompany Russell's incrediable guitar........A must for any Russell Malone fan, or Jazz guitarist!!!!!!
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Format: Audio CD
This is a great cd, undoubtedly. His ballad songs are great and are honestly touching. However, when I bought this album, I was expecting at least one fast song that had an extraodinary 'typical' Russell Malone solo. I got this album after Sweet Georgia Peach and Some Of My Best Friends Are Guitarists. In the middle of that he transitioned from the ballad to a more upbeat tempo. That's what I was looking forward to. However, it turned out to be slow, but GREAT just the same. It taught me that songs don't necessarily need to be fast in order to be good. However, I am deducing one star (because not one of them was fast and after a while it got a little repetitious and boring. Take note: Each song if you listen to just one at a time, not one after another are great, but after over and over for ten songs in a row...let's say it gets a little repetitious.

1. Sweet Georgia Peach (Ron Carter (b),Kenny Barron (p), Louis Nash (d), Russell Malone (g)) Great songs and great interaction between soloists and comping. Very upbeat songs.
2. Bluebird (Benny Green (p), Russell Malone (g)) Nice soloing and nice time, shows their skill and how they don't need a drummer to keep time.

P.S Please Check Out My Reviews On The Recommended CDs!
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By A Customer on October 12, 2001
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have taught guitar and played for almost 40 years. In my opinion, this album is a beautiful representation of what I believe it wanted to be- a caring tribute to two very soulful and dear souls- milt jackson and stanley turrentine- I have never met Mr Malone but -if he reads this - in my opinion- I think they are both smiling ,from the beauty of your swing.
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Format: Audio CD
Malone conjures a series of relaxing jazz tunes. I tend to play this album late at night whilst busy doing some other chores! Malone is good company - very smooth, and reminiscent of Charlie Haden & Pat Metheny in 'beyond the Missouri Sky'. Enjoyable album!
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Format: Audio CD
I was introduced to Russell Malone's genius just this past summer in Seattle, where he played with Ray Brown and Monte Alexander at the Jazz Alley. I've been sitting on my hands, waiting for this album to come out ever since he told me it would be released in August. You Needed Me was the song that most caught me that night-- it absolutely stopped my heart... Pour yourself a nice glass of Merlot, ease into a warm, bubbly tub and get ready to find yourself murmuring mmm, mmm, mmm every so often as he fingers chords and notes that'll sweep you away.... Precision -- that's Russell. Enjoy!
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Format: Audio CD
To speak adequately of Malone and Heartstrings one would have to
elicit the use of a Webster's dictionary of superlatives. It's just that good and better. It will give you a tummy tickling experience.The emotions he evokes on each piece is so soulful and equally senstive as his fingers demonstrate. I find it difficult for me to single any one piece for review as they are all beyond superb. Definitely music to listen to with that significant other as it is mellow, soothing and laid back.
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Format: Audio CD
Russell Malone sure can play the guitar! He certainly does know how to select beautiful tunes, and the ones he chose for this project definitely fit that description. The sidemen are 'way beyond deft, altho you can scarcely hear them in the background (except for Kenny Barron's beautiful solo on "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry"). This is an utterly beautiful cd. In these unsettling times, it's calming, soothing, relaxing. It's wonderfully romantic -- a great choice for a quiet Saturday evening in front of the fireplace with a glass of bubbly...
No, it's not innovative, ground-breaking or any of those other words the Jazz Police like to toss about. One of these days, Russell will be ready to make a cd like that -- and when he does, watch out!!!
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