Five Lines No Waiting Cover

Now available in an expanded second edition, this collection of alert, witty, and world-wise limericks by the great New Orleans jazz pianist and composer Tom McDermott, illustrated with his own drawings, is a snapshot of a restlessly creative mind and heart at play. These “personal nursery rhymes” demonstrate that simplicity of means need not be incompatible with sophistication of ends. In all their various modes—the frivolously comic, the self-deprecating, the wistful, the gently mocking, the philosophical—a very individual elegance and generosity of spirit are always to be found.

See a video interview on WGNO about the book.


“These written and pencil-drawn lines are a perfect accompaniment to Tom McDermott’s music because, like him, they are unstuck in time. Who writes limericks anymore? Who draws with a pencil? The same guy, apparently, whom I once heard play the middle movement of Beethoven’s ‘Pathetique’ Sonata to a Fats Domino beat. Tom’s limericks and drawings are pure whimsical joy. Like his music, they remind us why our brains have evolved with a pleasure center.”

—Dan Baum, author of Nine Lives and Gun Guys

“Tom McDermott has long thrilled New Orleanians (and people around the world) with his pianistic dexterity and compositional originality. Now he’s forsaken that keyboard for another. To the question ‘Does the world need more limericks?’ he answers a resounding ‘Maybe not, but here they are!’ Yes, they’re witty and funny and pointed, but they’re also accompanied by Tom’s overdue return to the drawing board. Buy the book for the limericks, stay for the drawings. Both will make you smile. A lot.”

—Harry Shearer, actor/writer, and director of The Big Uneasy

Remarkable New Orleans musician Tom McDermott was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1957, and moved to New Orleans in 1984. As a pianist/composer he has released 15 CDs.

pub date: 2019-04-01
isbn: 978-1-944697-77-8 (paperback)
Cover design by Royce M. Becker