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Tony Malaby

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Biography

Influenced by artists ranging from John Coltrane and Archie Shepp to Roscoe Mitchell (among others), Tony Malaby is a probing tenor saxophonist who is comfortable with both inside and outside playing. Some of Malaby's work has been very avant-garde and left of center, although he has had no problem playing more mainstream post-bop. The saxman was born in Tucson, AZ, in 1964 and grew up in that southwestern city; Malaby made his first trip to New York in 1990, when he was attending William Paterson College in New Jersey. It was in New York that he met organist Joey DeFrancesco, who employed him as a sideman for a year. The early '90s also found him playing with various Charles Mingus ghost bands and with reedman Marty Ehrlich, who featured him in a band that included Michael Formanek on bass and Tom Rainey on drums. That combo marked the beginning of an ongoing relationship with Formanek and Rainey, both of whom he played with extensively in the 1990s. The saxman's first album as a co-leader came in 1993, when Malaby and trombonist Joey Sellers recorded Cosas for 9Winds. In 2000, Malaby recorded the avant-garde Sabino for Arabesque. ~ Alex Henderson