Tiny Reviews: Mike Mahoney, Raynald Colom, and Pink Monkey

Tiny Reviews, featuring:  Mike Mahoney Wallingford, Raynald Colom Rise, and Pink Monkey Ink.



Mike Mahoney – Wallingford

On drummer Mike Mahoney‘s debut album Wallingford, it’s easy to imagine that he has all three Brian Blade Fellowship albums within easy reach.  This is modern jazz, with a heavy cross-pollination of post-rock that leads to reflective melodies and tempos that rarely, if ever, swing.  It’s the kind of album that can make one start to question whether it’s jazz at all, and then suddenly the clouds part, and a hopping sax solo breaks through, and the bass player (of which there is a rotating cast of three on this album) and pianist establish a nifty groove, and now we’re back in jazz territory again.

Based on the liner notes, and not unlike many debut albums, Mahoney attempts to encapsulate much of the imagery and memories and thoughts he’s had in all the time leading up to his debut recording session.  Typically, a scope that wide leads to a wandering, somewhat unfocused album.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, nor is it even a real criticism.  It’s just a trait I find commonplace on many debut recordings, especially by younger musicians.  I find if I’m prepared for it going in, and accept it on those terms, it makes for a much more enjoyable listening experience.

Wallingford is definitely that.  A promising first album.

Your album personnel:  Mike Mahoney (drums), Mark Allen (baritone & soprano sax, flute), Jon Rees (alto sax, flute), Dylan Babitch (piano, Rhodes), Ian Brick (guitar), and a team of bass players on various tracks:  Jon Smith (electric bass), Brian Howell (upright bass), and Jason Fraticelli (upright bass).

The album is Self-Produced.  Jazz from (I think) the Wallingford, PA scene.

You can stream, and purchase, the album on Mahoney’s Bandcamp page.

Available at eMusic.  Available at Amazon: CD | MP3


Raynald Colom – Rise

Not an easy album to encapsulate, due primarily to the expansive breadth of music influences that trumpeter Raynald Colom attempts to incorporate into this complex, yet elusively straight-ahead jazz album.  Bringing in musicians with backgrounds in a varied set of regional musics and focuses, Rise is, at its heart, a modern jazz recording.  Yet by spotting the compositions with spoken word, vocals, orchestration, and traditional jazz, Colom creates enough folds and angles to the music in a way that inspires the delight and wonder of an elegant origami construction.

This is the kind of album that makes for a long, slow reveal, one that’s ultimately rewarding when it’s all said and done.  Three of the tracks have orchestration.  They’re my favorites.  The third of the three also has a spoken word piece incorporated into it, a blend which goes a long way as evidence of Colom’s talent as a composer.

P.S.  This is a really strong line-up.  Pukl, Ortiz, and Royston all have put out solid albums this year, and Carter has contributed to Ortiz’s excellent recording as well as to a number of other albums and performing with Wallace Roney.  A good album to use as guidance to find other good albums.

Your album personnel:  Raynald Colom (trumpet), Jure Pukl (tenor saxophone), Aruan Ortiz (piano), Rashaan Carter (double bass), Rudy Royston (drums), and guests:  Philippe Colom (bass clarinet), Roger Blavia (percussion), Core Rhythm (spoken word), Sofia Rei (vocal), and the Eclectic Colour Orchestra.

Released on the Jazz Village label.

Available at eMusic.  Available at Amazon: CD | MP3


Pink Monkey – Ink

Fiery sax trio whose music, if Pink Monkey were a child, was probably often sent to the time-out box. Energetic like crazy, but also capable of some blissed-out moments, like the thrilling “It Was Yours (Stomped)” which should grab the ears of anyone who’s into the Colin Stetson sound. This is music to start off a weekend of Too Much Fun, performed by musicians who want to be rock stars while jamming out to jazz albums.

Your album personnel: Tim Koelling (sax), Nick Kokonas (drums), and Mike Koelling (bass).

You can stream the album on the trio’s bandcamp page.

The album is Self-Produced.  Jazz from the Chicago scene.

Available at eMusic.



The Mike Mahoney and Raynald Colom reviews are original to Bird is the Worm.  However, a portion of the Pink Monkey review was originally used in my Jazz Picks weekly article for eMusic, so here’s some language protecting their rights to that reprinted material as the one to hire me to write about new jazz arrivals to their site…

“New Arrivals Jazz Picks,“ reprints courtesy of eMusic.com, Inc.
© 2012  eMusic.com, Inc.

As always, my sincere thanks to eMusic for the gig.  Cheers.