"...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).
"...advance the [trio] concept."
Trio makes a brief cameo in this Village Voice piece on Sonny Rollins's Way Out West (recently reissued).
"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.
Michael J. West previewed the trio show this Sunday, February 18, 2018 at Twins Jazz in DC in Washingtonian. Read the full preview below:
Sunday, February 18
The (not-so-) secret of the pianoless saxophone trio is that it doesn’t just reduce the saxophonist’s harmonic restrictions, it reduces their restrictions, period, leaving them room to run wild in any direction without bumping their heads against the walls. Tenor saxophonist Kevin Sun does a bit of that—who wouldn’t, given the chance? More often, however, he exploits the openness of his trio setting to play about with the timbre and melodic possibilities of his instrument. Or, rather, his instruments: Sun plays tenor, but also clarinet and (dig this) C-melody saxophone, an instrument rarely heard since Frank Trumbauer in the 1920s. “Take care of the sense and the sounds will take care of themselves,” Lewis Carroll wrote; Hogwash, Sun seems to say. He tends to the sounds, as do bassist Walter Stinson and drummer Matt Honor, and lets the sense flow from those. The Kevin Sun Trio performs at 8 and 10 PM at Twins Jazz, 1344 U Street, Northwest. $10.