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Path Hed by Tom Walsh

Trombonists Tom Walsh, Steve Swell with bassists Miles Perkin, Szandal Matyas and drummers Thom Gossage and Balazs Elemer have come out with a great work of art. Tom Walsh's trio, Path Hed, has its particular groove in highly skilled playing and imagination. Tom Walsh mixes up regular music with intrepid improvisation, which gives a very original free style. The album was recorded live by Ombú at the Jazz Contemporain ticketed series in July 2003, Salle Beverly Webster Rolph, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Festival International de Jazz de Montréal.

Peter Brat recorded the tracks "Drunk Man" and "Backwoods Song" live at Hermes’ Ear Festival Nitra in Slovakia on 2003. Featuring Szanday Mátias and Balázs Elemér.

The release begins with a beautiful "Introduction" in which the bass and drums thrills the listener joined by a trombone section full of original sounds. The concept of two trios are not unique but the concept and view of Walsh's music is definitely the Walsh print.

"Transition" is a wonderful track and the band enters in a soft mood, artistically full of inventions. During various tracks, the music can be intense and exciting or even dark, however, it stays in motion with lots of variations. "Transition" sings a mantra in which the piano sets a kind of short melody then leaves a space for a great drum solo from Thom Gossage completed by Walsh’s powerful trombone.

"Drunk Man" is a masterpiece of creative music. In "1958," the improvisations move back and forth from blues to pseudo show tune music. The situation gets a little more complicated as soon as Walsh and Swell play their trombones, which is a total listening delight.

Path Hed features Steve Swell, who makes up a part of that very little group of great trombone players in the downtown scene. He has played with many famous musicians and has a unique and powerful voice that never imitates anyone else. Swell knows how to state atonal notes but also can play the melodies. His phrases sound pure and unbreakable. Swell's improvisations are poignant, cool and daring with very likeable emotions.

Path Hed has all of the nuances of free jazz and improvisation, possibly its best. Try not to understand the music of this double trio too quickly, but instead listen to the album repeatedly to enjoy it's nuances.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Tom Walsh
  • CD Title: Path Hed
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Noma
  • Tracks: Introduction, Transition, Main Theme, Drunk Man, 1958, Nitra Oxide, Backwoods Song, A Walking Thing
  • Musicians: Tom Walsh (trombone, sampler), Steve Swell (trombone), Miles Perkin, Szanday Mátias (contrabass), Thom Gossage, Balázs Elemér (drums, percussion)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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