"Sun continues to fulfill his promise as a monster sax player and gifted composer."
Trio is reviewed in the spring 2018 issue of Monarch Magazine. Full text below:
Young tenor saxophonist Kevin Sun impressed on the innovative jazz quartet releases Earprint and Great On Paper. In Trio, his debut as a leader, Sun continues to fulfill his promise as a monster sax player and gifted composer. Joined by bassist Walter Stinson and drummer Matt Honor, he offers a dozen of his own staggeringly good tunes, as well as a couple of striking free improvisations by the band. A graduate of Harvard and New England Conservatory, Sun's intellectual bent and dedicated study of jazz serve him well in writing that merges evolving rhythms, steadfast swing, and wild melodic lines.
"...oozing with Stan Getzian fog."
George W. Harris at Jazz Weekly wrote the following review of Trio:
Reed-lead trio affairs are not for the faint of heart, but Kevin Sun mixes and matches with a variety of instruments and moods to keep your attention and enjoyment intact. He joins together with the flexible team of Walter Stinson/b and Matt Honor, who are adept in either deep pockets or loose change throughout.
Sun’s tenor is used on most of the tracks, and his tone is filled with Sonny Rollins muscle and warmth, floating like a leaf on “Transaccidentalism” going the role of the bopper on “Find Your Pose” and oozing with Stan Getzian fog on “Ballroom Dancing.” Stinson and Honor get nifty with deep grooves on the hip “Bittergreen” and nifty “Deliver the Keys” and with Sun switching to clarinet, get impressionistic on “Loading Screen” and dreamy on the luscious “Air Purifier.” The ringer is with Sun on the rarely played C Melody Sax delivering a brash “All of Me” and teaming with Stinson’s bowed bass for a rich “One Never Knows How.” Deft deliveries.
"...Sun does not force the action."
Richard Kamins at Step Tempest wrote a thoughtful review of Trio. Read the full text below:
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2018
Two Masters at Play, One Trio Exploring
Kevin Sun may be recognizable from his work with the quartets Great on Paper (cd review here) or Earprint (reviewed here) or his byline as a transcriber of several of Ethan Iverson's interviews. The Harvard/New England Conservatory graduate (he was the first to complete the schools' combined 5-year degree program) studied composition with Miguel Zenón and John Hollenbeck and has written on his blog ("A Horizontal Search") an understanding of both the history and forward motion in jazz. "Trio | Kevin Sun" (Endectomorph Music) is his debut recording as a leader. Like the best saxophone trio recordings (Sonny Rollins's "Way Out West" and "Freedom Suite", Joe Henderson's "The State of the Tenor Vols. 1 & 2", Bernie McGann's "Bundeena"), this music works because it is a collaboration of Sun (tenor saxophone, c-melody saxophone, clarinet) with the impressive rhythm section of bassist Walter Stinson (Adam O'Farrill Quartet) and drummer Matt Honor (Cowboys & Frenchmen, Cat Toren).
"Kevin Sun is a smart guy."
Phil Freeman at Stereogum reviewed Trio:
Saxophonist Kevin Sun is a smart guy. In addition to his work on the horn, he’s a jazz scholar, who frequently conducts interviews for the Jazz Gallery’s website and posts transcribed solos on his blog. On this album, his first as a leader, he’s joined by bassist Walter Stinson and drummer Matt Honor. Sun admits to being in thrall to players and composers like Steve Coleman, Vijay Iyer, and Steve Lehman, so it’s not surprising that the melodies here are complex and tightly wound, but the rhythm section keeps things swinging and loose even when the putative leader is journeying deep inside the horn. “Find Your Pose” has a long, meandering melody line, but Stinson and Honor set up a bouncing, finger-popping beat that grounds Sun and allows the listener to travel along with him on his journey. And when they pull the old-school move of trading off — a burst of saxophone, followed by a reply from the drums — it’s both suspenseful and fun. This is new jazz that maintains a direct line of communication with what’s come before, neither handcuffed by tradition nor disdainful of it, and that’s to be applauded.
Thierry Giard of Culture Jazz included Trio in their February 2018 Pile de Disques (Pile of Records) column. Read the original text and Google Translation below:
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Pile de Disques de février 2018 (50 + 1)
50 disques parus ou à paraître et quelques retardataires.
Thierry Giard, Culture Jazz, February 8, 2018
Pour son premier album sous son nom, le saxophoniste et clarinettiste américain Kevin Sun a choisi la formule du trio. Cet élève de Miguel Zenón et John Hollenbeck se dit influencé par Steve Coleman, Vijay Iyer, Henry Threadgill, Steve Lehman, et Mark Turner. Cela explique sans doute que sa musique retienne notre attention par la qualité de sa construction. À écouter sans hésiter (voir ci-dessous pour se procurer ce disque) !
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Translation courtesy of Google Translate:
For his first album under his name, American saxophonist and clarinetist Kevin Sun chose the trio's formula. This student of Miguel Zenón and John Hollenbeck is said to be influenced by Steve Coleman, Vijay Iyer, Henry Threadgill, Steve Lehman, and Mark Turner. This probably explains that his music holds our attention by the quality of its construction. Listen without hesitation (see below for this record)!