"...tantalizing tensions between form and freedom"
Jon Garelick wrote some kind words about Trio for Jazziz magazine. The review isn't available at Jazziz online yet, but you can read the full text below:
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Kevin Sun – Trio (Endectomorph Music)
Reed player and composer Kevin Sun established a reputation for rigorous scholarship with his blog, "A Horizontal Search," which boasts more than 120 solo transcriptions of everyone from Clifford Brown and John Coltrane to Steve Coleman and Vijay Iyer. How fastidious is Sun? Studying Lester Young, he went so far as to get a hold of the kind of tenor — fitted with vintage mouthpiece — that Pres played with Basie. What's more, he's taken up the oddball C-melody saxophone simply because that was the horn played by one of Young's influences, Frankie Trumbauer.
All this effort would be for naught if the result were merely a copy of past greats. But Sun — who's also worked with the small-ensemble collectives Great On Paper and Earprint — has burrowed into his studies and come out the other end. On Trio, his debut as a leader, the Harvard and New England Conservatory grad combines a smooth mastery of his horn with an adventurous taste in composition, creating tantalizing tensions between form and freedom and setting up various hurdles in tempo and meter.
Working with bassist Matt Stinson [sic] and drummer Walter Honor [sic], Sun plays with various templates that spur heady three-way conversation. Opener "Transaccidentation" builds from short, riffing cells of melody (in 15/8) that unspool into longer lines and open up for a meaty bass solo before returning to the theme. "Air Purifier" (based in part on Charlie Parker's "Air Conditioning"), mixes sections of soft, fluid clarinet over pattering mallets with high-velocity tenor-sax swing. For contrast, Sun includes a handful of short, abstracted-bop swingers ("Three Ravens," "Find Your Pose") and some grunge-rock aggression ("Misanthrope"). But even a pair of end-of-the-night free improvs are informed by a strong melodic core. And the trio's fleet, swinging "All of Me" would do Stan Getz proud — even if it's filtered through Pres via Trumbauer's C-melody.