Tom began playing acoustic bass at the age of 9, and it was only a few years before he became a first-call player on the local jazz scene in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. With a quickly growing reputation, it wasn't long before he began to perform with many nationally recognized artists passing through the Midwest--and by his 18th birthday, had already performed with such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt, Stan Kenton, James Moody, Barney Kessel, Eddie Harris, George Russel, Nat Adderly, Peter Erskine, Bill Watrous and Freddie Hubbard.
Tom's interest was primarily acoustic jazz until his introduction to the electric bass at age 17. Fascinated by this new instrument, he was soon dividing his time between mainstream jazz and contemporary fusion-funk.
Tom relocated to New York City in 1984, and immediately became involved in numerous musical situations on both instruments. Reuniting with longtime friend and master drummer, Dave Weckl (also from St Louis), Tom immediately found himself rehearsing with guitarist Bill Connors for an upcoming power trio album called "Step It." Tom also reconnected with famed-drummer Peter Erskine, who informed him that the legendary jazz/fusion band Steps Ahead was looking for a new bassist. Tom auditioned the following week, and was accepted into a touring schedule that lasted well over a year. He was also introduced to Brazilian Jazz artist Tonia Maria, which began a 10 year performance and recording relationship. Tom's east coast career continued to expand, and he was soon involved in further performances and recordings with such names as Don Grolnick, Steve Kahn, Randy Brecker, Benny Green, Bucky Pizzarelli, Al DiMeola, Steve Ferrone and Junior Cooke, to name a few.
Tom released his debut solo CD "Basses Loaded" in 1997, featuring Dave Weckl, Tonia Maria, Ray Kennedy and Sammy Figueroa. In 2004, he decided to release a mainstream acoustic recording, and called on jazz legends Mundell Lowe and Joe LaBarbera to complete the trio for his second solo project, "Bassics."
In 2000, Tom truly found his home as an original member of the Dave Weckl Band, and is featured on all DWB recordings, including: "Rhythm of the Soul", "Synergy", "Transition", "Perpetual Motion", "LIVE (and very plugged in)", and the latest release, "Multiplicity." Tom also appeared on Dave's debut recording, "Master Plan," in 1990.
Over the years, Tom has expanded his "who's who" list, performing and recording with many of the best of the best, including Michael Brecker, Mike Stern, Ernie Watts, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, David Sanborn, Joe Sample, Patrick Leonard, Al DiMeola, Steve Lukather, Steve Gadd, Phil Woods, Don Grolnick, Dave Liebmann, Steve Grossman, Simon Philips, Virgil Donati, Vinnie Colaiuta, Lois Conte, Don Alias, Patti Auston, Bobby McFerrin and Rosemary Clooney.
"I am so pleased to be a representing artist for Markbass amplification," says Tom. "I have performed with many amplifiers through the years, and really feel that I've finally found 'my sound' in Markbass. These systems produce a wonderfully warm bottom, incredibly articulate highs, and equally punchy and full mid range. Every nuance of my sound and style is so clearly expressed, allowing an amazing 'comfort zone' in any musical situation... I couldn't be happier!"
Tom also says: "YES, I am using the MoMark...... I LOVE IT! I have one of them set up with no EQ, and the other set up as a 2 channel system. Both of my basses (ac. and elec.) sound warm and punchy, but with amazing clarity. It's so easy to get "my sound" with these units, most of the time with very little EQ adjustment. I have never been happier... Thank you, Markbass!"
Tom Kennedy has been featured on the cover of Bass Musician magazine's March issue--which also includes a story on Evan Marien.