Rainey works regularly with the muscular saxophonist Tony Malaby, so their collaborations with the
equally brawny Texas trombonist Brian Allen on Synapse makes for a good match. The two horn
players exhibit a natural ease with multilinear improvisation, whether creating instantaneous structural
gambits for one another or simply blowing full-speed ahead in tandem. The pair’s hard-bop roots come
in handy, they never get tangled up in conflicting harmonies or rhythms.
Rainey deserves some of the credit for keeping things fluid. His keen sense of dynamics makes sure
the improvisations are never static, whether that means dropping out altogether, stoking the
proceedings with a focused clatter or simply bearing down on his kit. He eschews a steady pulse most
of the time, but that doesn’t mean he’s not propelling the music forward. Despite the sense of
movement he lends, Rainey’s drumming is almost as melodic as the lines his cohorts lay down.
BRIAN ALLEN WITH TONY MALABY AND TOM RAINEY - SYNAPSE REVIEW
FROM APRIL 2007 DOWNBEAT