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Traditional Jazz Series Presents the Russell Malone Quartet

September 2, 2009

Russell Malone Quartet

Jazz guitarist Russell Malone will perform at UNH Monday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m. in the Johnson Theater. Appearing with Malone will be working quartet members Martin Bejerano on piano, Tassili Bond on bass, and Johnathan Blake on drums. This concert is the first in UNH’s Traditional Jazz Series for the 2009-2010 season.

Largely self-taught, Malone’s virtuosic technique and versatility in the swing, bebop and blues idioms make him sought after by many major jazz figures including Harry Connick, Benny Green, Roy Hargrove and Diana Krall. He’s also played with artists as diverse as Jimmy Smith, Kenny Barron, Mulgrew Miller, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole and Christina Aguilera. Malone also appeared in Robert Altman’s 1996 movie “Kansas City.”

As a young boy, the role of guitar playing in church fascinated Malone, so much so his mother bought him a guitar when he was four. As a young teenager, his interest in jazz ramped up upon seeing guitarist George Benson’s TV appearance playing with Benny Goodman.

“I knew right then and there that I wanted to play jazz,” Malone says.

As he learned his art and developed his style, other influences were B. B. King, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Chet Atkins and Charlie Christian as well as the soul groups Dixie Hummingbirds and Sam Cook’s Soul Stirrers.

Although Malone possesses powerful technique and is able to play dazzling runs with apparent ease, what makes his music especially appealing is its lyricism. His ability to phrase a melody was developed largely by listening carefully to great singers and vocalists, advice given to him early in his career by singer Freddie Cole. Malone’s exquisite ballad work arises from the lyrical sensibilities he has so carefully cultivated.

Tickets, available at the MUB ticket office and at the door one hour prior to the concert, are $8, general admission tickets and $6 for students and seniors. You may also order tickets online at http://www.unhmub.com/tickets or call 2-2290 for more information.

Five additional concerts remain in the 2009-2010 Traditional Jazz Series. The Wolverine Jazz Band appears on Oct. 19 featuring clarinetist/leader John Clark, banjoist/vocalist Jimmy Mazzy, and cornetist Jeff Hughes. On Nov. 16, pianist extraordinaire Benny Green returns to UNH in a solo performance. Green last played at UNH in a 2004 joint appearance with pianist Marian McPartland.

Jerry Bergonzi, one of Boston’s most influential saxophonists and educators, visits with his quartet on Feb.1, 2010 in the annual Tommy Gallant Scholarship Concert. On March 1,Michael White and the Original Liberty Jazz Band from New Orleans explore the roots of jazz. The 2009-2010 season comes to a close on April 12 with the appearance of the critically acclaimed Steve Wilson Quartet. Wilson represents a new generation of historically informed jazz musicians dedicated to passing on and expanding the language of jazz.

The Traditional Jazz Concert Series is co-sponsored by the music department and the New Hampshire Library of Traditional Jazz. The library, established in 1978 by Dorothy Prescott, comprises books, recordings, and memorabilia and is housed at the Dimond Library. Prescott's generous endowment funds its activities including the Traditional Jazz Series concerts.

 


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