Tom Dempsey

Contact Us

Room: M-Building, M-204
Phone: (718) 482-5940

Monday- Thursday  9 a.m.- 5 p.m.


  • Master of Music (M.M.), Manhattan School of Music
  • Bachelor of Music (B.M.), Rutgers University

Areas of Expertise or Research

  • Guitar
  • Jazz performance
  • Composition
  • Arranging
  • Education


Tom Dempsey is a Professor of Music at CUNY LaGuardia, where he serves as the Program Director for the Music Performance Program. His books, Jazz Eras for Guitar, Easy Soloing for Jazz Guitar, Guitar 101 Books 1 and 2, Sight-Reading for the Contemporary Guitarist, and Classic Jazz Styles for Guitar are available through Alfred Music and Workshop Arts.

As a teaching artist with TrueFire he has produced nine critically acclaimed courses: My Guitar Heroes, Practice Sessions: Jazz Melodic Approaches, Jazz Comping Playbook, 30 Jazz Progressions You Must Know, Jazz Scales Handbook, 30 Jazz Arpeggio Licks You Must Know, 50 Licks of the Jazz Guitar Masters That You Must Know, 50 Licks of the Soul Jazz Guitar Masters That You Must Know, and Fretboard Phenom. He also co-produced and was the musical consultant for the course Nature of Guitar by Pat Martino.

As a guitarist, his reputation for hard swinging sophistication and pure musicality have made him a distinct voice in the New York jazz scene. He has performed and/or recorded with world renowned jazz musicians including: Wynton Marsalis, Paquito D’Rivera, Jim Hall, John Abercrombie, John Scofield, Buddy Montgomery, George Coleman, Kenny Barron, Roy Haynes, Bobby McFerrin, Gerald Wilson, Muhal Richard Abrams, and Dave Brubeck. He has recorded seven CDs as a leader: Waltz New (Origin Records), Saucy (Planet Arts Records), Beautiful Friendship (Planet Arts Records), What’s Going On (City Tone Records), Perspectives (Imaginary Records), Blues in the Slope (Igmod Records), If Only We Knew (Self Release). He has performed at some of the top jazz venues throughout the world including the JVC Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center, San Francisco Jazz Festival, The Blue Note, Yoshi’s, Smalls and Smoke. In 2012, Dempsey performed on behalf of the United States State Department as a Music Ambassador throughout the country of Tunisia.

Dempsey has worked extensively with tap dancing virtuoso Savion Glover in Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk, as well as in live concerts. He has made numerous appearances on New York radio and television including performances on The Rosie O’Donnell Show and the HBO series Sex and the City, which featured his music.