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Bluebird ()

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Benny Green and Russell Malone pick up where they left off on their first duo recording for Telarc, only this time the locale is in the studio. The pianist and the guitarist are equally at home with classic jazz compositions, standards, pop songs, and originals. They devour Milt Jackson's "Reunion Blues," a driving hard bop performance with spine-tingling solos. Equally thrilling are their jaunty takes of Charlie Parker's rarely heard blues "Bluebird," and the saxophonist's intricate "Passport," the latter with Malone providing a percussion by tapping on his guitar for a chorus. Their playfulness is evident in the fast-paced interpretation of "It's Alright With Me," though they finally cool down with a light but funky take of "You Are the Sunshine of My Life." Even though the R&B hit "Feel Like Makin' Love" seems like an unlikely jazz vehicle, the duo's soulful but understated rendition makes it viable. Malone's "Flowers for Emmett Till" is an elegant ballad played on his unaccompanied guitar. The CD closes subtly with Oscar Peterson's gorgeous "Wheatland," a nice salute to a master who has not only influenced Benny Green, but who has lauded his abilities as a pianist. Highly recommended. ~ Ken Dryden, Rovi Hide synopsis

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