Dave Sumner, Bandcamp Daily

Trumpeter Matt Holman treats silence like sculpting clay. He gives shape to what isn’t there, and instills it with a presence that can fill the room. When he enfolds his songs with rich harmonic washes, the display of textures results in varying shades of color. Holman’s excellent 2013 release When Flooded offered up plenty of that effect with its mix of reeds, cello, guitar, and percussion. On his newest, Holman brings in an entirely different ensemble. Sam Sadigursky takes over the armory of wind instruments from Mike McGinnis, and the duo of vibraphonist Chris Dingman and pianist Bobby Avey blur the lines between melodic development and rhythmic support. The changes all shake out with highly defined lyricism, where the poetry of motion sets the melody in play, rather than simply creating an environment for them to thrive. It’s why the passages of dissonance on “Fragment 26” and the unfolding serenity of “Fragment 36” and the wild emotional swings of “Fragment 38” all seem to have sprouted from the same family of seeds. That Holman’s inspiration for The Tenth Muse is the Greek lyrist Sappho certainly had an influence in how the pieces came together, but the conversational rapport between the members of the quartet indicates a guiding hand rooted in the creativity of the present than the echoes of the past.

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