Young Trumpets: Ben Holmes and Sun Trios

Elliott Simon By

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Ben Holmes Trio

Ben Holmes Trio

Self Released


Sun Trio

Time is Now

Cam Jazz


Young creative musicians are the lifeblood of any art form and these two contrasting trumpet trio releases from disparate corners of the jazz landscape have more in common than initially meets the ear. The Ben Holmes Trio has this young talented trumpeter introducing Eastern European flavors with beautiful results while Sun Trio traffics in freer discourse with Scandinavian postmodern roots.

Holmes, unlike much of his conservatory-trained peer group, doesn't try to cram as many notes into a measure as he possibly can on this eponymous debut, well, not usually anyway. It could even be said that he plays like a person with Miles of experience. Each note is savored, rolled around, cogitated on and given its due time in space. He pulls this off due to a strikingly flavor-filled tone that seems to have been aged longer than Holmes himself. His bandmates, bassist Dan Loomis and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza, share this quality-over-quantity ethos and as a unit provide an unhurried soundscape that promotes Holmes' ability to pick and choose his notes carefully. This is especially true on the self-penned tunes that impress with a compositional confidence born of experience as opposed to brashness. While there is the odd klez-burner, the gorgeous soliloquy of "Devil in the Clock," thoughtful reworking of "Romanian Folk Song" and pensive "Ballad #1" indulge rather than confront.

Finland's Sun Trio is likewise young and very comfortable with themselves on Time is Now?'s engrossing original collaborative explorations. Ostensibly led by drummer Olavi Louhivuori, this is a true trio with Louhivuori's brother Kalevi on trumpet and bassist Antti Ltjnen mixing it up with a similar cool ethos. The compositions and influences spread out stylistically to include a wider variety of sonics as well as some apparent electronic aids. The pseudo-beat hand drumming and vocal trumpet of "Wawa-Numnum," boppish "Rolling Mountains," aptly named "Bossa" and ambient title cut are all held together by the cohesiveness of the group gestalt. "Orgaonisaatio" has Louhivuori's trumpet morphing itself into a very believable lead guitar that makes for a blistering blues-bop closer.

Both these releases, with their freshness, creativity and advanced usage of dynamics, bode well not only for their individual instrumentalists but for jazz trumpet in general.

Tracks and Personnel

Ben Holmes Trio

Tracks: Moments of Recognition; Devil in the Clock; Romanian Folk Song; Gankino; Ballad #1; Jamestown; Lev Tov.

Personnel: Ben Holmes: trumpet; Vinnie Sperrazza: drums; Dan Loomis: bass.

Time is Now

Tracks: US; Wawa-Numnum; Rolling Mountains (Vierivat Vuoret); New Way (Uusi Tie); Bossa; Time Is Now; Brightest Hour; Three Lanterns (Kolme Lyhtya); Orgonisaatio.

Personnel: Olavi Louhivuori: drums; Antti Lötjönen: bass; Kalevi Louhivuori: bass.


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