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), “Rebound” (2008), and the latest “Flower Starter” (2015). 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 a 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. You can read an interview about Tom and Numinous here. 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 has released a new CD of duo music with guitarist Brad Shepik entitled “Flower Starter.” He can also be can be heard performing with pop vocalist Betty Black; jazz vocalist Alma Micic; and Tom’s own Norville Trio, among others.
He 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. He is featured in a new book by fellow vibraphonist Anthony Smith entitled “Masters of the Vibes” (2017) alongside some of the greatest/most renowned living vibists in the world such as Gary Burton, Terry Gibbs, Joe Locke, Mike Mainieri, David Friedman, Stefon Harris and many others. Tom teaches vibraphone privately and also through the New School Jazz in New York City.
As a leader:
As a sideman:
Steelonious | Mike Neer
That Old Feeling | Alma Micic
Sobrinos | Jimmy Weinstein
Daria Grace and the Prewar Ponies | Get Out Under The Moon
Audrey Silver | Very Early
Changing Same | Joseph C. Phillips
Views From The Inside | JC Sanford Orchestra
Listen Both Ways | George Schuller
Bored to Death, Season 3 (HBO)
To the City | Jaclyn Guillou
Across the Way | Brad Shepik
Snowbound | Lapis Luna
Numinous + | Joseph C. Phillips
Journey Into Jazz – Music by Gunther Schuller | BMOP
Like Before, Somewhat After | George Schuller
V.V. | Richard Muller
Give it Love | The Grey Race
Iris Nova | Mudville
Periodic Trespasses (Saul Cycle) | Sam Bardfeld
‘Round About Now | George Schuller
Spirits | Michael Musillami
Our Big Top Parade | Cocktail Angst
Cocktail Angst | Cocktail Angst
Five Star Motel | Andy Stochansky
Marshall Crenshaw | What’s In the Bag?
Dennis Brennan | Iodine In The Wine
Unauthorized | Dave’s True Story
Nature | Dave’s True Story