Tom McDermott – Bamboula – Minky Records

by | Oct 22, 2013 | Pop/Rock/World CD Reviews

Tom McDermott – Bamboula [TrackList follows] – Minky Records MK3 *****:

(Tom McDermott – piano; Aurora Nealand – sop. sax; Evan Christopher – clarinet; Patrick Harison – accordion; Also Caio Marcio – seven-string guitar; Henry Lentino – bandolim; Sergio Krakowski – pandeiro; Rick Tolsen, trombone)

Another album with which it is most difficult to decide in what genre to put: classical, jazz, world music, pop?  The title tune is of course the famous piano piece by Louis Moreau Gottschalk, who was probably the first to incorporate elements of black music into classical pieces. The note booklet includes three drawings of the 1860s showing the composer’s seemingly multiple fingers at work on the piano keyboard, and McDermott’s own CD cover shows a shower of water splashing out of the strings of his grand piano. Not every performers gets Van Dyke Parks to write his album notes for him, as McDermott did. If the New Orleans pianist seems familiar to you, it might be because you were a fan of the HBO series Treme, in which he played himself. His own music was featured ten times in the series. And he’s also been featured on Harry Shearer’s NPR series Le Show.

His 16 tracks are aided and abetted by several guest performers who duo and more with him, except for tracks 4 & 5, where he sits it out.  The selections without  a composer listed are all by McDermott himself, including the lovely “Insouciance.”

Virtuoso and composer Gottschalk was of New Orleans and the sense of that place is felt thruout Bamboula, from the music of Congo Square to that of all of South America as well as Europe. The sense of things Brazilian is also strong in many of these tracks. Argentina is not missed either, with “Tango Ambiguo” a delightful little McDermott piece featuring the clarinet. McDermott is clearly a great New Orleans pianist and composer.


1. Bamboula
2. Opulence
3. Irresistivel
4. Heliotrope Bouquet
5. Musette in A Minor
6. For Brenda
7. Artrapado
8. La Manege Rouge
9. The Big Man
10. Chrysanthemum
11. Tango Ambiguo
12. Casa Denise
13. Lost Rio
14. Insouciance
15. Realidad e Saudade
16. Santa Teresa 

—John Henry


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