Noma Diversion

Canada’s pre-eminent free jazz group NOMA hits a home run with Diversion. Tom Walsh has absorbed Ornette Coleman’s Harmolodic concept, synthesised it with a dizzying array of sound art gestures, and produced a recording of compelling resonance. The colouristic brilliance of prepared guitar by Rainer Weins, the funk-solid electric bass of Alan Baculis, the earthy feel of drummers Francois Chavette, Thom Gossage and Pierre Tanguay, all coalesce in music that is ethereal and butt-shaking, abstract yet visceral. Forget New York, Chicago, London, Amsterdam while listening; Montreal’s NOMA makes music so unapologetically direct, conceptually articulate, sonically rich, that its boldness demands global musical and critical acknowledgement. A 32-track CD with extended pieces subdivided into movements, Diversion, recorded live in Montreal and at Toronto’s Music Gallery, ranges from the koto-like "Ouvert Tour” to the dynamic "Conversation,” by turns subtle and stark, lyrical and acidic, funky and swinging. Walsh’s visionary approach has yet to garner him the worldwide acclaim a NYC-based artist would long ago have achieved, but dauntless, he has, in true Canadian fashion, persisted in making a highly personal music in his intelligently idiosyncratic way. Highly recommended. (Ambiances Magnétiques)