Reviews of "PEI's guitar ninja" (-Todd MacLean, The Guardian)
Doug Gallant's review of ECMA showcase at The Mercury
theguardian.pe.ca -- Feb. 17, 2007
Jazz guitarist Ian Toms played a beautifully fluid set of pieces that reminded me at least once of a young Wes Montgomery.
Bass player Ross MacDonald and drummer Richard Knox, who play frequently with Toms on Victoria Row on balmy summer nights, laid down a great foundation for Toms to build on and build he did. Toms, almost obscured from a view by guitar, is a textbook lesson in phrasing, time and class.
What a player!
Fiery Jazz Quintet lights up Victoria's Stage
Todd MacLean, The Guardian newspaper -- August 26, 2005
...I was initially dumbfounded, and continually astounded throughout the entire evening's performance, by the mystifying work of Toms on guitar.
After hearing his first solo, in fact, I basically thought that I could just leave at that point, and I would have felt like it was all worth the drive and my time to come there, if only to hear that.
At times, Toms appears as if he is hardly thinking about what he is doing at all -- his hands graze across the fretboard as if the neck is a smooth stick of butter, as they just nudge at various parts of it, always ringing out the perfect chord wherever they sit.
And when it is time for him to solo, he immediately brings the audience into his own personal locale. He is always the deep breath and sigh of the song -- the quiet story time -- when the listener seems to fall down this rabbit hole into his very cool and interesting land...
indiepro.com, Oct 7, 2006
Ian Toms has an exceedingly smooth and clean style, offering warm melodies and a fluid, laid-back vibe.
Doug Gallant's review of OPEN
The Guardian newspaper -- July 7, 2006
One of the best things about summer nights in downtown Charlottetown for the past several years has been the jazz series on Victoria Row.
Night after night, Islanders and visitors dining or socializing on the row have been treated to an ambrosial mix of jazz standards and more contemporary fare served up by a stellar crop of young jazz players, many of whom are Islanders who have passed through the jazz program at Montreal's McGill University.
Those of us who make the row part of our summer routine have watched the musical growth of these players with a combination of interest and admiration.
One of the players who has helped to generate that interest is jazz guitarist Ian Toms.
If you want to know why listen to Toms' debut album, Open.
Recorded as part of his masters thesis for McGill, Open showcases Toms' talents as a player and as a composer with a set of seven original pieces that reflect both a diversity of influences and his own versatility.'
Toms is an exceedingly fine player, fluid, very tasteful and adventurous without being showy.
He comes across on this indy release as a very economical player in the sense that he puts a lot out there but seldom, if ever, wastes a note.
In short, Open is all wheat, no chaff.
Toms, who'll officially launch this record Saturday afternoon at the P.E.I. Jazz and Blues Festival, was joined in the studio for this set by several close musical friends, including baritone sax player Paul Nedzela, vocalist Julian Humphreys, keyboard virtuoso Vanessa Rodrigues, bass player Miles Perkin and drummer Richard Knox, another Victoria Row regular.
It's a very fine first effort for Toms, hopefully just the first of many.
Prime tracks include Walter, Song for Krantz, The Chase and Traces.
Stephen Pedersen's review of OPEN
The Chronicle Herald -- Feb. 16, 2007
Acoustic-electric guitarist Toms lives and breathes in P.E.I. but his jazz on OPEN is pure Montreal contemporary. The band on OPEN includes Paul Nedzela on raw and ready baritone sax, Vanessa Rodrigues playing superb backup on Fender Rhodes piano and Hammond organ, and Miles Perkin and Richard Knox giving firm support on acoustic bass and drums.
Toms is an inventive and resourceful player still in his early days, trailing clouds of academic glory behind him, a glory illuminated by an original mind underpinning its traces of schooling. All the tunes are his and the way the group knits together on them makes this CD a compelling listen.