New York Times review of Bamboula

Dating back to 1986, I’ve had good luck with the New York Times, with a half-dozen reviews and mentions of my work. They came through again this weekend. Many thanks to Jon Pareles for this review.

New York Times
1/12/14

Tom McDermott

BAMBOULA

Tom McDermott, a pianist and composer from St. Louis who settled in New Orleans more than 20 years ago, steeped himself in the local lore from the classical compositions of Louis Moreau Gottschalk to the Mardi Gras mambos of Professor Longhair. He also delved further into Latin America — to Argentine tango and to Brazilian choro, a cousin of ragtime — and elsewhere. “Bamboula” (Minky) is a compilation drawn largely from Mr. McDermott’s previous albums. The album is named after a Gottschalk melody that gets a tambourine-tapping choro-meets-traditional-jazz treatment; Mr. McDermott also thoroughly revamps two Scott Joplin pieces. But the other 13 ingenious miniatures, played by small groups that often include Evan Christopher on clarinet, are Mr. McDermott’s own: compositions that can simultaneously invoke Chopin and habanera or New Orleans slow drag and Parisian bal-musette, complete with accordion. The pianist and songwriter Van Dyke Parks chose the tracks, and they reflect his fondness for nostalgia gone surreal — seemingly antiquarian settings where strange twists and turns occur — and for chromatic rambles that end up making sense. Mr. McDermott’s time-warped parlor music turns out to be as wily as it is elegant.

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