|“Diversion” is the second album from NOMA, an ensemble formed and directed by trombonist Tom Walsh. It was recorded live at La Sala Rossa in December 2002 and at the Music Gallery in Toronto in 2000.
NOMA is a gigantic laboratory. In the left corner: a guitar, a bass, and a drum set. In the right corner: a guitar, a bass, and a drum set. In the middle of the ring: Walsh, his trombone and his sampler. NOMA driving its own hybrid design, brings us on a wild rollercoaster ride down the radio dial of style. Highlighting the group’s superb musicianship with stop-on-a-dime arrangements, Walsh & Company have evolved a repertoire and playing vocabulary unmatched in modern music.
Taken from the best moments of performances in Toronto and Montreal between 2000 and 2002, “Diversion” provides an opportunity to discover the virtuosity of NOMA and its composer and leader Tom Walsh.
by Matt Pierce
in Splendid E-Zine (USA), July 14, 2004
Canadian bandleader and composer Tom Walsh and this far-flung group of musicians have their fingers in so many pies -- funk, fusion, avant-jazz, prog, even non-idiomatic improv -- that it’s a surprise that Diversion isn’t baked into an indigestible lump. Instead, Walsh and his mates avoid the stop-start schizophrenia that characterizes a lot of other genre exercises and stick with a creative but organic sense of development that takes each of these ten pieces on a strange ride, but not before giving them some legs. (It might have helped that Diversion was recorded live over the course of two performances and then seamlessly edited together after the fact instead of cobbled together in the studio.)
A piece like Ouvert Tour, with skittering guitar scrapes that segue into a no man’s land of electronic buzzes and mournful trombone lines, or Two Pair/Deux Couples, which moves carefully from minute improv to Mingus-like horn growls to a vampy swing break, showcase NOMA and Walsh at their most diversified, while straight-up, stripped down (but still adventurous) funk numbers like Capacity or the prog-tinged Bud’s Dub prove they can stay interesting, even while staying inside genre boundaries.Walsh and his bandmates have playing talent to spare and a barrell full of stylistic guises at their fingertips, but the true measure of Diversion’s success is its tight focus.