Benny Green and Russell Malone – Bluebird

Benny Green and Russell MaloneBenny Green and Russell Malone
(Telarc – 2004)
by Matthew Robinson

Opening with a groove that is part Ray Charles, part Vince Guiraldi, piano man Benny Green reenters his relationship with guitarist Russell Malone through the appropriately titled “Reunion Blues.” After a duet of Cole Porter’s “It’s Alright with Me” that careens from uptempo to almost out of control, Malone’s chugging strum and bright melody help bring Stevie Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” smoothly back to earth.

Green’s spacious solo arrangement of “Who Can I Turn To?” keeps the classic tune fresh and interesting, and Malone’s own “Flowers for Emmett Till” is a memorial soliloquy to this young martyr that smacks gently of James Taylor. The duets of “Love for Sale” and Charlie Parker’s title track find Green and Malone dropping notes among each other’s Blues rhythms, demonstrating a well-honed sympatico between two talented young artists.

© 2004, M. S. Robinson, ARR