tom mcdermott


V.20 No.25 | 6/23/2011
Who knows what he’ll play?
Photo by Rico

Jazzed

Tom McDermott

Big Easy pianist/composer off-kilter and on target

You never know where pianist Tom McDermott will go haring off to next. That’s because he often hasn’t a clue, either. A daring and inventive improviser, he’s more than willing to go striding (or ragging or rumba-ing or tango-ing) through doors that lead who-knows-where. In the middle of a Scott Joplin piece, he might find an opening that leads straight to James Booker and start mixing the rag’s more straitlaced syncopation with the saucy funk of New Orleans R & B.

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V.18 No.32 | 8/6/2009

The sound of New Orleans, and beyond

New Orleans pianist/composer Tom McDermott has never played in a bordello (although he could once see one from his home), but he has absorbed the New Orleans piano professors’ traditional approach to the eighty-eights. That tradition owes a significant debt to the Big Easy’s classier houses of ill repute, which expected the solo pianist to reproduce all the excitement of a small combo—but at a much lower cost.

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