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Tom Beckham

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All About Jazz user Tom Beckham

United States

Profile Views: 1,476

Vibraphonist residing in Brooklyn, New York since 1994.

Born in 1968 in Maryland, Beckham graduated from Boston’s Berklee College of music in 1990 where he studied with Gary Burton, Ed Saindon, Hal Crook, and others. Beckham resides in Brooklyn, NY where he is an active performer and teacher.

As a band leader and composer Beckham has released three CD’s to date: “Suspicions”(Fresh Sound New Talent, 1999) “Center Songs”(Sunnyside, 2006), and the latest, “Rebound” (2008). Critics and fans have taken note, describing Beckham as “…a superior conceptualist.”(AMG), playing the instrument with “…a full range of expression.” (Baltimore Magazine), and “…incredibly mature.”(KKJZ). Jazzreview magazine noticed, writing “That’s what makes it work: it feels like a band.” and the NYC Jazz Record called Tom a ” hidden treasure.” The music blog thisisbooksmusic.com wrote”…here’s someone who makes the vibraphone sound like the most grand of jazz instruments.” The Village Voice noticed too, writing “The vibraphonist likes to keep an eye on harmonic options when he’s penning intricate pieces for his poised little outfit.” Further summing-up Beckahm’s approach, Rhapsody.com hit the nail on the head when they wrote “Beckham’s approach is reminiscent of older band leaders like Paul Motian and Chico Hamilton, but Beckham’s work has a sound all its own—which is what jazz is really about.” As an versatile sideman for more than 20 years, Beckham has played in bands led by Brad Shepik, George Schuller, Ron Horton, Michael Musillami, Joseph Lepore, Chantale Gagné, J. Walter Hawkes, the vintage swing ensemble Lapis Luna, the JC Sanford Jazz Orchestra, the NYC composers’ group PULSE, Joseph C. Phillips’ Numinous Ensemble, and over the years, appeared in a host of musical settings, performing and/or recording with musicians such as bassists Matt Penman, Reid Anderson, Gary Wang, Dave Ambrosio, Ben Allison, Matt Pavolka; cellist Jody Redhage, pianists Henry Hey, Bruce Barth, Ben Waltzer, Aaron Goldberg, Bryn Roberts, Bram Weijters; drummers Lewis Nash, Jochen Ruckert, Dan Weiss, Mark Ferber, Tommy Crane, Diego Voglino, Tim Horner; guitarists Ben Monder, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Brad Shepik, Tom Guarna, Will Bernard, saxophonists Donny McCaslin, Michael Blake, Bill McHenry, Seamus Blake, Jerome Sabbagh, Chris Cheek, John Ellis, Steve Wilson; trumpet players Ingrid Jensen, David Smith and Russ Johnson, and many others.

Tom also is a member of composer Joseph C. Phillips’ Numinous ensemble which performs original ‘mixed’ music informed by the stylings of Steve Reich and Morton Feldman. He has also performed and recorded as a featured soloist with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) in a series of recordings of Gunther Schuller’s visionary work which was released in 2008.

Currently Tom can be heard performing with a new group he calls SLICE featuring the gutarist Nate Radley, plus appearances with the Brad Shepik Quartet and new recordings with the JC Sanford Jazz Orchestra and George Schuller’s Circle Wide.

Tom has performed at the JVC New York, Zurich, Rochester, and Braga, IAJE and Jazz Improv New York festivals; halls such as Carnegie Hall, Jordan Hall, Hammerstein Ballroom, and many NY and east coast area clubs such as Smalls, Fat Cat, Birdland, Cornelia Street Cafe, Shapeshifter Lab, Joe’s Pub, Chris’ Jazz Cafe, Firehouse 12, and many more. In early 2014 he recently completed a European tour with George Schuller’s Circle Wide and a North American duet concert premiere with Brad Shepik at the Yardbird Suite Jazz Club in Edmonton, Alberta.

Current projects include “Norville” a trio dedicated to performing Tom's transcriptions of the Red Norvo Trio's arrangements, and the Brad Shepik/Tom Beckham duo, which is preparing material for a debut release.

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