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Radio ›› Noma
Diversion
Conversation: 1, 46s [excerpt]
Track 7 from Diversion
CD: Ambiances Magnétiques (2003) AM 119

Artists ›› Noma

Noma II, driving its own hybrid design, plays the radio dial as a keyboard programmed to surf style. Highlighting the group’s unorthodox instrumentation with stop-on-a-dime arrangements, Walsh & Company are evolving a repertoire and playing vocabulary unmatched in modern music.

Expatriate Newfoundlander; Musique Actuelle leader; National Jazz Award nominee; trombonist Tom Walsh formed Noma in Toronto in 1989.

Noma plays sneaky music… Beginning as a sextet (2 gtr-2 dms-keys-tbone) in Toronto, Noma later evolved to feature to up to eleven members (3 gtr-2 bss-3 dms-keys-reeds-tbone) from two cities: To & Montréal.

Noma acts as a harmonic de-scaler for Canadian Jazz. Quickly achieving “cult status” nationally, Noma mushroomed outside the existing “petri-dish” of Canadian avant garde, as poet Michael Ondaatje, singer Mary Margaret O’Hara (both featured on the cd, Climbing the Waltz ) and Juno-winner Richard Underhill jumped into the mix… a mix which, in hindsight, now seems to have foreshadowed modern dj culture. Experiments dividing “cells” of the larger group in concert would sometimes find two mini-Nomas “scratching” with each other live!

Noma’s reminder: Only living musicians can bring us truly modern sounds… all else is photoshopped! Noma‘s very instrumentation even began to reflect the music’s own “spiraling” growth, becoming modular; collapse/expandable…

Noma science weds Ornette Coleman with Cecil Taylor… in Marshall MacLuhan’s laboratory… only in Canada, you say? By 1994, Americans Don Preston (Zappa), Bern Nix and Al MacDowell (Ornette Coleman) and Vinny Golia (Rova Sax Choir) were joining Noma’s explorations. Noma’s Canadian roots even sprouted smaller groups as they literally grew across borders into Québec in the late 90’s.

In 2000, Noma reformed as a streamlined seven piece double trio (gtr-bss-dms x 2 + bone) based exclusively in Montréal. Diversion, Noma’s just-released cd (Ambiances Magnetiques) testifies to the present group’s seasoned discoveries. The voice is mature; the musicianship, superb…