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Genres You Will Love
Jazz: Smooth Jazz Moods: Instrumental World: Caribbean

By Location
United States - California

artist website

Tom Gates

“This is the sound of unfettered joy.” – Nick DeRiso

The new CD Comfort Zone by Tom Gates is a breakthrough project, combining Tom’s steel pans and guitars in a fresh spin on world music with virtuoso San Diego bassist Glen Fisher and legendary drummer Steve Gadd. The music is colorful, richly layered and diverse. With songs by jazz greats such as Weather Report, Chick Corea, Bill Frisell and Keith Jarrett. Available now at, iTunes, and

“…as he reinterprets a series of key covers, while offering his own smart set of originals with a crack group of sidemen, you quickly begin to see the steel drum in an entirely new light.”
- Nick DeRiso

Tom Gates is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer based in San Diego, California.

Tom studied guitar with Pat Metheny at the University of Miami, where he received his degree in guitar performance. While in Miami, Tom had the opportunity to meet and perform with many extraordinary musicians including bass legend Jaco Pastorius. During this time, Tom discovered the amazing instrument from Trinidad – the steel drum (pan) and began forging a unique sound after hearing the Trinidadian master Othello Molineaux.
A move West brought new opportunities and while in Phoenix, Arizona Tom received a gold record for his steel drum performance with The Beach Boys on the song Island Girl from the album Still Cruisin’. As a roster artist with the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Tom performed at schools and community events throughout the state with his World Rhythm Band. With the popular Morningstar Band, Tom performed at clubs, concerts and at the world-famous Telluride Jazz Festival.

Now in San Diego, Tom performs and records both solo and with the Comfort Zone band. The sound of Tom Gates is a refined mix of influences, from Caribbean flavored celebrations to jazz and pop masterpieces. Potent improvisational statements combine with creative arranging to create a dynamic musical soundscape that is always melodic and accessible. Performing on steel pan, guitar, chromatic kalimba and percussion, Tom Gates is pushing the boundaries of jazz in the 21st century.

“…don’t expect to come away without a smile on your face.”
- Nick DeRiso

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