Tom McDermott is one of New Orleans’ premiere piano players and composers. He grew up in St. Louis, where he earned a Masters’ Degree in Music, wrote music journalism for the morning paper, and soaked up the sounds of ragtime and traditional jazz that flourished in the 1960s and 70s. In 1984, spurred by his love of James Booker, Professor Longhair and Dr. John, he moved to New Orleans, a trip enabled by a gig at the World’s Fair.
Tom has been quite busy the last 25 years. For much of the 1990s he was a Duke of Dixieland, which took him to Europe, Asia, South America and all over the States (including Carnegie Hall); he recorded several albums with the Dukes, including a tribute to Jelly Roll Morton with the great Danny Barker.
In 1995, after arranging a tune for the Dirty Dozen Brass Band album “Jelly,” he co-founded the modern brass band the New Orleans Nightcrawlers. Tom has written for the theater (the Obie-award-winning off-Broadway show, “Nita and Zita”), appeared in bit roles in the movies and TV (“He Said She Said” and the HBO series “Treme,” and had his music used frequently on NPR. A group he co-led with clarinetist Evan Christopher, the Danza Quartet, appeared on NPR’s New Year’s Eve show, “Toast of the Nation,” on 2008-2009.
He has recorded 10 albums, and 75 original tunes as a bandleader.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“Mr. McDermott is not simply a follower of tradition or a repository of old tunes. He composes within his wide-ranging idiom with a knowledgeable feeling for his sources and a sense of humor.” -New York Times