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Instructional assistant releases debut jazz album, holds free concert on campus

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Maloney
Instructional assistant for the music department Andrew Maloney releases his debut jazz album “Formation” on March 4. Maloney said he was inspired to create the album towards the end of the COVID-19 Pandemic and said he is already planning another album.

An instructional assistant for the Cosumnes River College music department released his debut jazz album “Formation” on March 4.

Andrew Maloney said the idea for creating an album came towards the end of the COVID-19 pandemic in late fall of 2021 when he was able to see amazing musicians around him at Sacramento State University.

“People can expect to hear some really authentic tunes that I feel like are really about my personal experiences,” Maloney said.

Omari Tau, professor of vocal music, said he hopes Maloney’s album will inspire students to also write and create their own music.

“I think that they will learn that they too can create and they don’t have to wait in order to make great things happen,” Tau said.

Maloney said he has been at CRC since the fall of 2023 as an instructional assistant. His primary job is to be a resource for students. His tasks can range from helping students borrow equipment to helping students with coursework or setting up for performances.

“Something about music had always kind of drawn me in from even when I was very young,” Maloney said. “I just kind of felt this connection to music.”

Maloney said he was a student transferring from Sierra College to Sac State when the pandemic happened.

“I had been writing a little bit during COVID and showed some of my tunes to my mentor, Dr. Brian Landrus,” Maloney said.

Maloney said he met Landrus, an associate professor of jazz composition at Berklee College of Music, during the fall of 2020 when Landrus was his primary saxophone teacher at Sac State.

Landrus significantly influenced Maloney as a saxophone player while teaching him at Sac State, Maloney said.

“I think he’s doing great things, and you know, I hope people go out and support the music and check it out, so you can hear what he’s doing,” Landrus said. “He has a great future ahead.”

Landrus said he told Maloney recording music is how artists grow.

“It puts you under a microscope for yourself and just for your music that you’re writing the people you’re surrounding yourself with,” Landrus said.

Landrus said he gives this advice to most artists, but Maloney was one of the rare students to actually listen.

“I pondered it for a while and then beginning of the spring of 2022, I told him that I wanted to do an album,” Maloney said.

Maloney said he finished writing the album and found a group to perform with. They recorded the album in April of 2022.

Landrus is featured on the album, however, he said Maloney really made the album himself.

“My role was essentially just to help make sure that he knew how to handle certain situations that may arise, which were really rare. I mean it was smooth,” Landrus said.

There was a two-day recording session. Four songs were recorded on a Saturday afternoon and then they came back on Monday evening to record the last four songs, Maloney said.

“They were really kind of born out of some of the stuff I was feeling during COVID, some of the experiences I had, just in life in general,” Maloney said.

Maloney said he has enough songs for another album and is playing around with different ideas for recording it.

Maloney said this album is “really just a jumping-off point.”

Landrus said Maloney was “inquisitive and excited to learn more about the art form.”

Maloney said he started playing the clarinet at the age of nine when he was in fourth grade. He said he picked up several other woodwind instruments until ultimately deciding to play the saxophone beyond grade school.

On the album, Maloney played saxophone, accompanied by Dominique Salazar-Turner on bass, Neil Heaton on piano and keyboard, Sean Nelson on drums, Hayden Douglass on french horn and Landrus on bass clarinet.

“Formation” is out now on all streaming platforms and CDs are available for purchase on his website.

Maloney said he will have a free concert at CRC on March 18 at 1 p.m. in the Recital Hall. He will be performing with Heaton, Nelson, and Salazar-Turner. They will be performing all of the songs on “Formation.”

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