Since moving to New York City in 1979 he has performed at festivals and clubs throughout North America and Europe with a wide range of artists, including John Abercrombie, Ray Anderson, Tim Berne, Jane Ira Bloom, Ted Curson, Marc Ducret, George Gruntz, David Torn, Mark Helias, Fred Hersch, Andy Laster, Joe Lovano, Carmen McRae, Mike Nock, Simon Nabatov, New and Used, Matthias Schubert, Tom Varner, WDR Big Band, Ken Werner and Denny Zeitlin.
Tom Rainey received an National Endowment for the Arts grant to compose and perform a concert of music for percussion and drums featuring Dave Samuels and Arto Tuncboyaci.
Rainey’s voluminous recording credits and the artistic caliber of the musicians he’s supported would easily place him on the A-list of drummers closely identified with the New York City modern creative jazz scene roughly from the late ’80s onward.
Tom Rainey recorded his debut album as a leader, "Pool School" for Cleanfeed Records in May 2010. The CD also features Mary Halvorson on guitar and Ingrid Laubrock on saxophone. The trio’s follow-up CD "Camino Cielo Echo" was just released on Intakt Records.
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Joseph Woodard, L.A Times““Tom Rainey is a player who swerves between avant-garde notions and a mainstream sensibility and when he plays the smell of invention is in the air” ”