Ben Holmes Quartet: Anvil of the Lord

Ben Holmes is a trumpeter-composer who blends his investigations of Eastern European music with a patient, open-ended swirl of Euro-classical composition and jazz improvisation. This follow-up to his critically praised trio debut adds trombonist Curtis Hasselbring, and their gracefully soft and muted brass dance in the frontline is Anvil of the Lord‘s dominant virtue. The beguiling opener, “Doodle for Rhapsody,” was apparently inspired by the Romanian singer Gabi Lunca, and Holmes likewise uses the trumpet-trombone parlay on customarily string-driven waltz tempos to charm his way into your attention. Not everything is sweet and delicate: After an extended intro from bassist Matt Pavolka with accents from drummer Vinnie Sperrazza, Holmes and Hasselbring riff and romp with a passion that betrays their membership in the group Slavic Soul Party!