Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tom Dempsey: Saucy

Guitar and Hammond B3 organ: a specific sonic palette
I want every listener to feel great when they listen to music. (Quote Tom Dempsey)
Hans Koert

Tom Dempsey, New York based guitar player, always carries the sound of those Jimmy Smith’s    B3  Hammond ….. I carry it with me everywhere I go .. with or without the guitar he says in an interview with Brent at the site. That music embodies a level of sophistication, integrity, honesty, humility, positivity, humanity, raw expression and an intent on bringing a good feeling to the world that is palpable.  When I was a kid, he remembers, the first record with a jazz guitar that fascinated me was the 1965 Verve album by the Wynton Kelly trio featuring Wes Montgomery at the guitar ….. This album led me on a musical journey, as Tom describes it at the liner notes, which introduced him to the organ played by Jimmy Smith, playing a duet with Wes Montgomery: The 1966 Verve Dynamic Duo album.  Dempsey says to have been inspired by guitarist like Wes Montgomery and Pat Martino, but also Charlie Christian, Kenny Burrell, Grant Green, Jim Hall, George Benson, Tal Farlow …… and a lot more.
Tom Dempsey (source:
Since he moved to New York City, more than 20 years ago, he played with several organ players in clubs like Augie’s  and in several Harlem clubs down town. His latest album is entitled Saucy, wich refers to  …. my days playing regularly in Harlem with one specific organist who almost exclusively played in the key of G.  To this day G is one of my favorite keys on the guitar.

Enjoy this own composition  Saucy, which became the title song of this album,  in a fragment of a concert at the Columbia University, 2012 .

Tom Dempsey is accompanied by Ron Oswanski at the Hammond B3 organ and Alvin Atkinson on drums. Ron Oswanski debuted last summer with his album December’s song.

Tim Ferguson (not on the record)  and Tom Dempsey (source:

His album Saucy contains ten tracks, half his own compositions – half standards.  Buddy Montgomery’s Bock to Bock ( Monk and Wes’ younger brother), Lee Morgan’s Ceora and the Simon and Carfunkel hit Bridge Over Troubled Water, which remembers him to the Katrina and Sandy hurricanes. Ceora, which debuted on Lee Morgan’s Blue Note album Cornbread ( September 1965), has always been one of my favorites, he says in the liner notes: The rhythmic background of the sounds of Brazil coupled with the sophisticated rhythms, melodic and harmonic attributes if be-bop and hard bop music make for a very interesting marriage of musical textures.   
(photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

The album ends with Tom Dempsey’s Pat-a-tat-tat, an uptempo composition by Dempsey, written for Pat Martino, a jazz icon he admires … It belongs to my favorites of this album. 
Hans Koert

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The Tom Dempsey Trio has that specific sound of the jazz guitar in combination with the groovy sounds of the Hammond B3 organ .... a popular sonic palette.  Tom Dempsey's latest album, entitled Saucy, features Ron Oswanski at the Hammmond B3 organ  and Alvin Atkinson on drums. A great album to find a copy.

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