If you haven’t been blessed to stumble into a New Orleans gig from Tom McDermott, then the forthcoming Bamboula compilation — overseen by Van Dyke Parks — is your chance to get caught up.
Fans of HBO’s “Treme,” which finds McDermott portraying himself, will also want to dig a little deeper into his unique sound — one that mirrors the Big Easy’s river-like, ever-changing eclecticism, stirring in everything from Brazilian beats to Beatle-y pop hooks, from Gottschalk (composer of the title track here) to funky modern-day grooves. As such, McDermott, like the mysterious port city he’s called home since 1984, can be difficult to navigate successfully for the newcomer. With so much tasty goodness, it’s hard to know where to start. That’s where Bamboula — set for release September 24, 2013 by Minky Records — comes in.
McDermott arrived in New Orleans in time for the World’s Fair, and has since made a series of notable outings — including stints with the Dukes of Dixieland and the New Orleans Nightcrawlers. He also worked as a guest arranger on the Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s tribute to Jelly Roll Morton, simply titled Jelly. But, as Bamboula attests, McDermott isn’t bound by tradition — or, really, anything else.
He’s just as adept at the expected Booker, Joplin and Spanish tinged classicisms as he is ragtime’s Brazilian counterpart choro and gypsy jazz. It seems that, for every door that Bamboula opens, several more are revealed. That’s the best kind of anthology.