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Tom Walsh

Tiina Kiik, The WholeNote, no. 10:1, September 1, 2004

This new release features Canadian trombonist Tom Walsh in concert with two different bands recorded live in 2003 at the Festival international de jazz de Montréal and at the Hermes Ear Festival in Nitra, Slovakia.

Six of the eight tracks are from the Montréal concert, with Tom Walsh joined by Miles Perkin on bass, Thom Gossage on drums/percussion and guest Steve Swell on trombone. The duets between Tom Walsh and Swell are so connected that were there no liner notes indicating who was on ‘left’ and ‘right’ trombone, it would have been close to impossible to distinguish the players. Dave Holland’s Backwoods Song and Benny Carter’s A Walking Thing have this strong band playing jazz really well. The Tom Walsh/Paul Cram composition 1958 begins with Tom Walsh’s sampling of a small child’s vocalizations which lead to a smooth slow melody that suddenly opens up to a faster paced and more open improvisation section. This fluctuating type of composition allows all performers to excel. WalshWaltz Leger is on three tracks and moves from sampled sounds through more free and dissonant sections to the Main Theme, a joyous and playful waltz.

The other two tracks from the Slovakian concert have Tom Walshjoined by Szandai Matyas on bass and Balazs Elemer on drums in more free improvisational works which feature Tom Walsh’s versatile playing. Tom Walsh’s music makes me laugh. His musical statements are well thought through and serious, yet there is this underlying humour which sets his music apart. His work here with trombonist Steve Swell is superlative.

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