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Tom Walsh (NOMA)


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Likely my favourite group that played at Guelph Jazz was NOMA. A sort of one gig a year if that collaboration kept together by Tom Walsh a trombonist/bon vivant. They were highly impressive musically and very contemporary. The lineup was great with two electric guitars, an electric and upright bass, two drummers and Tom on trombone and keys (he had different samples linked into each key on the deck which he exploited masterfully). Basically they don't limit themself to just the jazz style of improvisation or jazz tradition and are drawing heavily from country, soul, rock etc. They are a really lovely group anyways and would be popular with those who like The Slip for instance. Tom is also in a group Royal Jelly, has a jazz or funk trio Phat Hed (can't wait to hear these guys) as well as a tonne of other units. Anyways we raged it up and became the best of buddies and he's my new favourite person. People here on the board would love this guy. Here's his bio and look into NOMA if you are interested.

Tom Walsh

Trombonist.Composer.Digital Sampler.

Tom Walsh began his 'musical voyage' as principal trombone in an orchestra at sixteen.

Tom has since performed and/or composed popular or improvisational music for such Canadian artists as Steven Barry, Jane Bunnett, Pierre Cartier, Michel F. Coté, Paul Cram, Jean Derome, Lisle Ellis, Jim Hillman, D. D. Jackson, Oliver Jones, Robert M. Lepage, René Lussier, David Mott, Mary Margaret O'Hara, poet Michael Ondaatje, Bobby Wiseman, the Cowboy Junkies, the Barenaked Ladies, and Bran Van 3000.

Besides a tour of Eastern Europe in 2000 performing his own solo trombone repertoire, he has recorded and/or performed with foreign artists such as Iva Bittova, Fred Frith, Vinny Golia, Gerry Hemingway, Julius Hemphill, Guy Kluscevek, Evan Lurie, Al MacDowell, Joe McPhee, Phil Minton, Bern Nix, Zappa's Don Preston, and trombonists Steve Swell, Wolter Wierbos or Michael Vlatkovich in Canada, the United States or throughout Europe.

He co-leads the Walsh/Underhill Duo with Richard Underhill (of the Shuffle Demons). His unique sound has contributed to the famous growl of the Polka Dogs as well as the modernities of Toronto's Hemispheres Orchestra (of which he was a founding member).

He created and leads the "cabaret pit orchestra of the mind", Pots & Pans, and is co-leader of the "Plunderphonic" Actuelle duo, Midi Tapant, with Pierre Tanguay, mixing "cultural micro-quotes" in a cinematic ambiance.

For two years, he was Music Director at Montréal's exclusive nightclub, DiSalvio, where he produced popular shows highlighting live performers and DJ's of the Acid Jazz, House and Jungle milieus, occasionally featuring his own distinctive group, Royal Jelly.

He has conducted scores and/or improvisations in works by composers such as Jean Derome, Martin Altena, Vinny Golia, Rainer Wiens, Richard Underhill and Thelonious Monk in groups as diverse as Hemispheres in Toronto, N.O.M.A. in Montréal or Upstream in Halifax.

As composer, his commissions include Hemispheres Orchestra (twice); Upstream Ensemble; mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber; percussionist Geordie McDonald; modern dance choreographers Estelle Clareton (thrice), José Navas (twice) and Andrew Harwood (twice); performance artist Carl Trahan; multimedia performer/marionettist Marcelle Hudon; "Interactive Media" pioneer Don Ritter; a solo trombone piece for 'New Technology' presenters The User; CBC Radio's Morningside (for the 20th anniversary of Stairway to Heaven); and a brass fanfare for the new Buddies in Bad Times Theatre grand opening, Toronto.

In the world of film and theatre, he has been commissioned to compose soundtracks for filmmaker Don McKellar (Blue, featuring David Cronenberg and Tracy Wright); video artist Dennis Day (Autobiography); Theatre Passe Muraille (Jazz Opera the man with seven toes, M. Ondaatje: libretto; P. Cram, N. Gotham & V. Bateman: co-composers ) and playwright/director Daniel MacIvor (the 70-minute wordless play, Jump).

With poet/M.C./publisher Todd Swift he created Swifty Lazarus, a "Performance Poetry" duo which presents live poetry through experiments with sound and media manipulations.

As leader of N.O.M.A., he is currently working on new conducting techniques to not only broaden the compositional content of the group's improvisations but to establish a creative process where new technologies' effects upon old can be examined and harnessed.

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Seriously some of you have to look into this guy. I think he could be the saviour of the jam scene.

I'm not sure I understand... Why does the jam scene need a saviour? We've got at least 8 sick ass shows coming through Canada in the next few months (Slip, moe., The Duo), and there's a shitload of sick ass shows and bands playing in the states right now... Why would this guy make a difference? I'm honestly just asking....

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I am genuinely sensing in the last few weeks based on my wide range of experiences here, at work and with the jazz fest that barriers between genres are coming down in a very real way. The NOMA approach and calibre of musicianship is right up there with what we want to hear. This is in part because Tom's manifesto is basically to bring improvisers of different pedagogy's together in a guitar driven jazz context with multiple references to the 'string' tradition meaning for instance Nashville.

Whether you realize it or not Del there are players in our scene struggling with where they fit into the broader music community. Without betraying confidence one used the expression with me that they didn't want to be the 'soundtrack at the crackhead tent'. Basically Tom with his NOMA, Royal Jelly, Phat Hed and multiple other ensembles could be a great mentor for some of our more talented musicians to encourage them to more fully actualize themself through music. It really is an amazing approach to improvisation, wholly unique and he is a great great guy and a hardcore partier.

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