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Trumpeter/composer Ben Holmes' 2nd album as a leader with fellow Brooklyn musicians Curtis Hasselbring (trombone), Matt Pavolka (bass) and Vinnie Sperrazza (drums), presenting 9 original compositions showcasing the band's improvisational prowess and conceptual unity.

Holmes, Ben Quartet
Anvil Of The Lord

Holmes, Ben Quartet : Anvil Of The Lord (Skirl)
Label: Skirl    
Released in: USA    

"Trumpeter/composer Ben Holmes' second full-length album as a leader presents nine original compositions, which feature the group's improvisational prowess and conceptual unity.

"One of NYC's best young trumpet players" (AllAboutJazz), Holmes' first release as a leader (2009's Ben Holmes Trio) emphasized his roots in the melodies and rhythms of American and Eastern European music, especially jazz, klezmer, and music from the Balkan peninsula. The record garnered praise for its "lyric generosity and clarity" and "measured pace that favors patient, melodic exploration" in Downbeat Magazine.

The compositions featured on Anvil of the Lord present a development to his approach, incorporating elements of rock, Romantic classical harmony, film music, free improvisation and more to provide a shifting set of textures to facilitate the quartet's fast-paced interplay and spontaneity. Holmes describes his writing "inspired by things like Czech folklore, poor Amtrak service, the swimming holes of New Jersey, the films of John Carpenter, portentous budget documents from right before the economic collapse, crime reports from the late 19th Century, déjà vu, love, death, taxes, and other things that might not be apparent since the music is all instrumental".

Sperrazza's cymbals launch the album-opener "Doodle for Rhapsody", inspired by the great Romanian singer Gabi Luncă. Alongside "Otesánek", it is a further development of Holmes' interest in Eastern European music. The gentle contrapuntal waltz "Magic Mondays" alternates between loose modal explorations and rapid harmonic developments. Hazy memories of an illegal torchlight Mardi Gras parade through the French quarter of New Orleans in heavy fog inspired the eerie "Moved Like a Ghost". "Kingston", composed while stranded on a broken-down train near a Rhode Island of the same name, interjects Bulgarian-inspired rhythmic intrusions into an otherwise placid waltz.

The title track, Anvil of the Lord, begins with a bass and drum duet that evolves into fierce interplay between trumpet and trombone, culminating in an explosive atonal march. The dirge-like bass feature "Malach Hamovis" (Hebrew for "the Angel of Death") was written in response to Chopin's Prelude no. 2, colloquially known as "Presentiment of Death". The moody "Song for Creel Thompson" was inspired by a 1860s New York Times piece on a murder in rural upstate New York. The album closes with "Nada vs. Armitage", a tribute to one of cinema's all time great fight scenes, between Roddy Piper and Keith David in John Carpenter's classic They Live.

Holmes has performed and recorded with ensembles including Slavic Soul Party!, Asphalt Orchestra, Brooklyn Qawwali Party, Banda de los Muertos, and Justin Mullens' Delphian Jazz Orchestra. He has put out independent CDs with Trio Blastphemy (a collaborative project with trombonist Curtis Hasselbring and tubist Marcus Rojas), the Ben Holmes/Patrick Farrell duo (NYC's premier Klezmer/Folk/Spaghetti Western/ Improv/Pop/Waltz/Balkan/Freak-Out Trumpet and Accordion Duo), and Tarras Band (a klezmer ensemble in the classic mid-20th century American style)."-Skirl

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Quartet Recordings

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Product Information:

UPC: 884501788762

Label: Skirl
Catalog ID: 20
Squidco Product Code: 16836

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2013
Country: USA
Packaging: DVD Digipack
Recorded at Systems Two, Brooklyn, NY by Mike Marciano.


Ben Holmes-trumpet

Curtis Hasselbring-trombone

Matt Pavolka-bass

Vinnie Sperrazza-drums

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Track Listing:

1. A Doodle For Rhapsody 7:23

2. Magic Mondays 8:13

3. Moved Like A Ghost 6:38

4. Kingston 6:36

5. Otesánek 6:55

6. The Anvil Of The Lord 4:40

7. Malach Hamovis 3:48

8. Song For Creel Thompson 6:37

9. Nada Vs. Armitage 7:15

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