Tuesday, April 30, 2013


The title track of Matt Holman's debut recording, "When Flooded", is a nod to Holman's home state of Arizona, and a common road sign there that warns, "Do Not Enter When Flooded". He explains, "it refers to the summer flash floods so common in the area. The first three words had faded on this particular sign, leaving open a world of interpretive possibility. I thought of what a flood can mean in a desert landscape like Arizona, and how much this idea is reflective of the creative process. I also thought about how the effects of a flood can be felt for so long after the waters have receded, something which became painfully affirmed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. For this piece, I had a great flowing of counterpoint ideas. It is highly organized with short bursts of intense improvisation that reflects the desire we all have at times to break out from systemization into a world of free expression."

The Brooklyn, New York based trumpeter/composer/educator Matt Holman is an artist that has found his world of free expression and creativity, and has been recognized by his peers by being a prized sideman for the likes of Fred Hersch, Kurt Elling, Darcy James Argue (featured on Argue's most recent recording, Brooklyn Babylon), Jon Gordon, Kate McGarry, Matt Ulery, Bob Newhart, Los Amigos Invisibles and The Gregory Brothers. He has also earned national and international performance awards from DownBeat Magazine, the International Trumpet Guild's Jazz Improvisation Competition, the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and the National Trumpet Competition. As a member of The BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, Holman most recently won the 13th annual BMI Foundation's Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize, and will compose a new work for the Manny Albam Commission in June 2013. Taking inspiration from such diverse influences as Wayne Shorter, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Sigur Ros, Holman has composed works for Marvin Stamm, Ed Soph, David Baker, Marie Speziale, and The National Conservatory of Costa Rica, and was a 2009 ASCAP Young Jazz Composer's Competition winner.

In addition to Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, Holman is an integral part of many of NYC's finest large ensembles/big bands, a genre that is seeing a strong resurgence of late. He is featured on composer Asuka Kakitani's new recording, Bloom (19/8 Records), and also performs with Andrew Rathburn's Large Ensemble, JC Sanford Orchestra, Nathan Parker Smith Large Ensemble and the Noriko Ueda Jazz Orchestra (coincidentally, Darcy, Asuka, Nathan, and Noriko are all previous winners of the BMI Composer's Award). Holman is the artistic director of the New York Youth Symphony Jazz Band.

While Holman performs and records with plenty of small groups, his new album, When Flooded (available on Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records on March 19), showcases the trumpeter/composer utilizing the compositional influence and instrumental colors from his large ensemble experience, tailor-made and fine-tuned for his spry and nimble chamber-jazz group, featuring Mike McGinnis on clarinet & bass clarinet (The Four Bags, Anthony Braxton, Steve Coleman, Lonnie Plaxico), Christopher Hoffman on cello (Marc Ribot,Henry Threadgill, John Ellis, Harry Eisenstadt, Devotchka), Nate Radley on guitar (Loren Stillman, Alan Ferber, Ted Poor, Adam Nussbaum) and Ziv Ravitz on drums and percussion (Lee Konitz, Shai Maestro, Omer Avital, Avishai Cohen). One may take notice that each of the instrument families is represented on this recording: brass, strings, percussion, woodwinds and electronics.

Although Matt Holman is well versed in the standard jazz repertoire, most of his creative endeavors revolve around his original music and music composed by his peers. When Flooded features nine of Holman's gems that are overflowing with harmonic/melodic sophistication and beauty, abundant rhythmic variety, collective improvisation, and a high level of imaginative extemporization from all of the musicians. When Flooded is an auspicious debut, it is an album of such depth that it warrants numerous listens, and it brings to our attention an artist that has all of the attributes of a musician destined for an illustrious career.


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