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Audio outtake: Tom McDermott

In today’s Audio Outtake, eclectic New Orleans pianist Tom McDermott recalls his first visit to New Orleans, and what brought him here:

After that first taste of New Orleans, McDermott was hooked. He’s been here ever since, becoming a major contributor to the local music scene (did you catch him on Treme?). Dan Baum recalled his first glimpse of the musician in a 2007 article for the New Yorker:

“Not long after moving here, Margaret and I were at a night club with friends when Tom McDermott, a thin, sandy-haired man, shuffled up to our table…A few minutes later, McDermott took the stage, sat down at the piano, and set it on fire. He can do anything. We’ve heard him play ragtime, ‘trad jazz,’ swing, choros from Brazil, musettes from France, and any number of other genres. He doesn’t just play tunes, either. He writes his own. How many other American musicians are writing musettes, for heaven’s sake?”

McDermott’s latest recording, Bamboula, was described as “ingenious … wily … elegant” in a New York Times review last week, which added that the pianist “can simultaneously invoke Chopin and habanera or New Orleans slow drag and Parisian bal-musette.”

You can hear more from — and by — McDermott Friday night on WWNO radio, when he will be player of the week on Jazz New Orleans with Fred Kasten (8-10 PM on 89.9 FM).

Tom McDermott with Fats Domino and Jon Cleary

Tom McDermott with Fats Domino and Jon Cleary


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