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Phat Hed, Tom Walsh and Steve Swell (OMBU 1004)

Mike Chamberlain, Hour, October 14, 2004

Trombonist Tom Walsh and his trio Phat Hed (with guest trombonist Steve Swell) were one of highlights of the 2003 Montréal Jazz Festival. Happily, Tom Walsh has released most of the performance on this album. Included in the eight tracks are two from a live performance in Slovakia with bassist Szandal Matyas and drummer Balazs Elemer, two Hungarian associates of Tom Walsh replacing his regular rhythm section of Miles Perkin and Thom Gossage. Tom Walshblends in samples that are usually snatches of popular song and works the group’s improvisations off these themes in ways that are most musical and unpredictable and very often witty. Highlights include playing against the guitar sample on 1958 and the funky propulsiveness of Perkin on Backwood Song.

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