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 that city 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 27 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. During his stay with the band they recorded three albums, two for the Rounder Records label.
Tom has written for the theatre (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 11 albums as a leader including over 90 original tunes.
Tom is known for his eclecticism. He is one of the few New Orleans pianists to stretch from the mid-19th-century music of Louis Moreau Gottschalk to the funky New Orleans piano today. He has a great love of Brazilian music (13 trips there so far), the Beatles, European classical music, early Duke Ellington, and much more.
For this project, Tom enlisted clarinetist extraordinaire, Evan Christopher. A California native, Evan arrived in New Orleans in 1994 to immerse himself in the country’s most important and historic music community. He worked with musicians as stylistically diverse as Al Hirt and veterans of Preservation Hall to funk and brass bands including the Nightcrawlers and Galactic, before leaving to join the Jim Cullum Jazz Band in San Antonio, Texas in 1996. For nearly three years, he appeared nightly as their featured clarinetist and recorded several of their syndicated radio programs, Riverwalk: Live from the Landing.
Christopher returned to New Orleans to be an ambassador for the New Orleans clarinet style. Besides his own Clarinet Road series of CDs (STR Digital), he has recorded alongside New Orleans artists including Big Al Carson, Duke Heitger, Narvin Kimball and Uncle Lionel Battiste.
Christopher is an advocate for the cultural workforce and jazz-based music education. He even taught part-time at the University of New Orleans where he coached a New Orleans Music Ensemble that performed with guest mentors such as Lucien Barbarin and Marcus Roberts. When not touring, he appears as as a guest with groups such as the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and is a charter member of jazz composer guild, NOLA ArtHouse Music.
Threadhead Records is proud to welcome this talented duo to our family of artists.