Tom Mitchell – Full Bio 2016

Tom Mitchell is a hard driving swing/jazz guitar player and singer.  Rooted in the styles found in 1920’s and 30’s jazz, western swing, country blues and old-time music; he’s happily been both sideman and leader for a great variety of musical endeavors. In addition to singing and playing guitar, he’s played mandolin, banjo, tenor or tiple when the need arose.  After ten years of touring with Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks,Tom has found a home in Baltimore and can be seen there playing with lots of great players and bands including The Blue Rhythm Boys and The Redwine Jazz Trio.

At the age of twenty, he started his first western swing band, playing music that most folks had never known or had long since forgotten.  He spent his days hunting through piles of dusty 78’s, listening and learning to the music that had captured his imagination.  A few years later, he was spending long nights playing for both swing and square (!)dances, sometimes backing up dancers including the great Lindy Hop pioneer Frankie Manning.  During that time he was lucky enough to play with some of the  DC Jazz greats, old-timers like Al Seibert and Ted Efantis; making Brooks Tegler’s standing gig on Sunday afternoons at the Inn at Glen Echo his religion.

From 1993 through 2002, Tom had the pleasure of touring with the legendary recording artist Dan Hicks & his Hot Licks across the United States and around the world.  He played on two of Hicks’ recordings including the acclaimed CD,  “Beatin’ The Heat,” which featured guest appearances from Bette Midler, Ricki Lee Jones, Tom Waits,  Elvis Costello, and Brian Setzer.  The recording made TIME magazine’s “Top Ten CD’s of the Year List, and Rolling Stone gave it 3 ½ stars.

Double Scotch, Tom’s band with jazz violinist Kevin Wimmer, recorded one eponymous CD featuring Robert Redd on piano, Brooks Tegler on drums and John Previti  on bass.  Recorded in three days, the CD is filled with sophisticated, swinging arrangements, and a thoughtful playlist including songs that highlight Tom’s powerful vocals on “They all Laughed” and “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South”.  “Double Scotch” is a favorite of swing dancers around the country.

“Monday Morning Blues” (The Blue Rhythm Boys) with Jim Stephanson, Kevin Wimmer  and Ralph Gordon earned a WAMA “Wammie Award” in the Big Band/Swing category.

In March 2003, Tom was awarded the first annual “Musician to Musician” Grant given by  Chamber Music Annapolis.   This grant enabled him to spend a month in Holland studying with master Gypsy guitarist, Fapy  Lafertin.

In 2004 Tom began working with  Ann Savoy,  Kevin Wimmer , Joel and Wilson Savoy along with members of the fabulous young Louisiana group, The Red Stick Ramblers:  Chas Justus,  Eric Frey and Glenn Fields  to form Ann Savoy & Her Sleepless Knights.   This group produced two recordings on Memphis International Records:  “If Dreams Come True” and the 2010 release “Black Coffee”.  They have played some great gigs from Jazz Fest in New Orleans to The Getty Museum in Los Angeles.  The collaboration led to a movie soundtrack spot and producer credits for Tom on Ann Savoy’s song   “O Comm’e Les Nuit”  in the Sony picture “All the Kings Men”.

In 2010 The Blue Rhythm Boys, with Jim Stephanson, John Previti and Vince McCool  released their second record on Big L Records:  “Come on If You’re Comin’”. Like “Monday Mornin Blues”, this CD takes some twists and turns through the group’s repertoire of Hot Jazz, Blues And Hokum and includes a number of really special guests: Kevin Wimmer,  Dave Giegerich, Ralph Gordon and Mark Schatz .  Like “Monday Mornin Blues”, this CD takes some twists and turns through the group’s repertoire of Hot Jazz, Blues And Hokum with a number of really special guests including Kevin Wimmer,  Dave Giegerich, Ralph Gordon and Mark Schatz .

As a teacher and performer  Tom has worked at many music and dance  workshops and camps such as Ashokan Fiddle and Dance, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, The Swannanoa Gathering, The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes and Augusta Heritage Workshops.

Tom’s love of swing guitar shines brightly through his playing, and his extensive knowledge and appreciation of jazz history and tradition  brings a “true to style” integrity to any venture he undertakes, and that has been enough to feed his soul for his entire life.