Biographical Note


The following is a 140-word biographical note to be copied and pasted as needed. If you require a note of a different length, then please contact me and I will furnish one to meet your specifications.

Scott Thomson is a trombonist and composer whose commitment to open improvisation is the basis of much of his current work. His songs on texts by others for singer and dance artist, Susanna Hood, have been played in many contexts, some involving her choreography. As a producer, Scott has co-led the Association of Improvising Musicians Toronto, the AIMToronto Orchestra (to work with Anthony Braxton), and the Montreal-Toronto Art Orchestra (to work with Roscoe Mitchell); and he founded the Toronto studio venue, Somewhere There. He has made site-specific compositions for mobile musicians and audiences in unconventional contexts including, notably, the National Gallery of Canada and the Jardin botanique de Montréal. Scott was Artistic and General Director of the Guelph Jazz Festival 2017-23, and is currently Artistic and General Director of the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville. He lives in Victoriaville and Montreal.

Selected Media Quotations:

“Scott Thomson’s trombone playing is from another world. In fact, I don’t remember hearing a trombonist with such eminent technique and with so many ideas, which he lets flow through the duo collaboration, and occasionally the playing is such that you might not think it’s possible to perform it without dubbing or the like. […] Just listen to the trombone playing in the third track ‘Cadinene.’ Unbelievable!”

• Jan Granlie, review of Amber in Salt Peanuts (translated from Norwegian)

“[T]he music of Amber evokes a kind of Romance language with which to connect with the very heart of the music continuum. [… Y]ou will be dazzled by each piece; an idiomatic meditation suggestive of a proverbial melody imbued in amber. Listening to Freedman’s and Thomson’s performances you would not stop marvelling at how two artists use their musicianship – albeit uncommonly ingenious – to reflect the vitality and many-layered originality of this music. […] Bravo to both for this visionary music.”

• Raul de Gama, review of Amber in WholeNote Magazine

“[Spine is] a high-water mark in Canadian free improvisation.”

• Stuart Broomer, review of Monicker’s Spine in WholeNote Magazine

“Scott Thomson’s trombone at moments practically lifted me out of my body.”

• Carl Wilson,

Scott Thomson used the particularities of the [St-Christophe-d’Arthabaska] church venue to his advantage, offering a spellbinding solo performance that seamlessly touched on jazz, AACM-inspired avant-garde sonics, and an array of sophisticated extended techniques that made it one of FIMAV’s finest solo sets in recent years.”

• Alex Pelchat, Musicworks, Summer 2021

There is something glorious about Pal o’Alto. What I can’t work out is what it is.”

• Nick Roseblade, Vital Weekly #1279

“There’s something dramatic here, moods developing and changing along with the materials, a moving meditation in a terrain full of surprises, the shifting interior monologue of a musical flâneur.”

• Stuart Broomer, review of Murray: Trombone Solos in WholeNote Magazine

The Muted Note is a striking accomplishment—an almost naked work, in which unaccompanied trombone and voice are frequent. One does not hear these episodes as the work of individuals but as part of a complex ensemble of poet, composer, and interpreters. The Muted Note ultimately resonates like [P.K.] Page’s galvanized language itself.”

• Stuart Broomer, review of The Muted Note: Songs Based on Poems by P.K. Page in Musicworks

“What stands out most in these performances by appointment is Thomson’s sense of calm construction, every shift an organic evolution, akin to the solo work of Conrad Bauer.”

• Stuart Broomer, review of Heures indues: Trombone Solos in Point of Departure

The result [of Songs & Dances from The Muted Note] is remarkable, sacrificing some intimacy but gaining greater resilience and highlighting the strength of Thomson’s melodies, like the vibrant Picking Daffodils. […] Thomson has achieved a fine balance in the writing, creating arrangements that frame and expand P.K. Page’s luminous language without drowning it out, sometimes employing understated dissonance to suggest ambiguity.”

• Stuart Broomer, review of The Disguises recording in Wholenote Magazine.

“Thomson keeps to small, tactile gestures but somehow contrives to give bebop momentum even to moments of drifting near-stasis. The calm surface of his playing is ruffled by countless small shivers of delight and contrariness, while the solo piece ‘Lead’ shows how much mileage he can get out of quivery pirouettes and split tones. He even throws in some curt bouncing-ball melodies right out of J.J. Johnson. This is first-rate music that hardly deserves the tag ‘abstract’; it contains more melodic invention than a score of mainstream jazz records.”

Nate Dorward, Plumb review, Paris Transatlantic Magazine

“Somewhere There is just the kind of place where great music scenes are incubated.”

• Evan Parker, following his February 2009 AIMToronto Interface Series at Somewhere There

• My “Fifteen Questions” interview by Tobias Fischer, mostly about improvisation

Scott Thomson Curriculum Vitae