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Ernesto Cervini: A Canadian Songbook

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Ernesto Cervini: A Canadian Songbook
Composer and drummer Ernesto Cervini is a stalwart of the Canadian creative music scene both as an artist and promoter. His ninth release as a leader, the captivating A Canadian Songbook, is a collection of seven intricate pieces, composed by him and other compatriots. Cervini, at the head of his sextet Turboprop, deftly balances collective harmony and individual expressions and delivers all with refreshing spontaneity.

The leader starts off his arrangement of pianist James Hill's "Skeletons" with sparse drumming. Then the whole band joins playing the catchy head. The front-line members engage in a moving, sometimes bluesy, three-way conversation over a percolating backdrop. Pianist Adrean Farrugia's soulful and virtuoso improvisation emerges directly from the dynamic ensemble sound and seamlessly blends back into it.

Cervini's own "Stuck Inside" is a cinematic retro tune that swings hard and has the feel of a swanky evening at a hot night spot. Alto saxophonist Tara Davidson states the main theme with a laid-back romanticism. Trombonist William Carn embellishes the melody with an easy-going swagger and engages Davidson in an effervescent conversation. Bassist Dan Loomis takes a lithe and urbane solo leading up to the concluding refrains.

Another Cervini original,"If Then." opens with the composer's march-like cadence over which the three horns blow brief clusters of notes. Sandwiched between Farrugia's agile and lyrical pianism and Cervini's thundering polyrhythms is tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm's fiery and provocative extemporization.

Perhaps the most engaging track on this uniformly superb recording is Carn's "The Inertia of Complacency." It is elegant with passionate motifs laced with hints of melancholy. It also showcases the exemplary camaraderie within the group. This cohesiveness makes them sound like a much larger orchestra. Cervini drives the performance with his restless beats while Farrugia's block chords and Loomis' reverberating strings add to it a hypnotic element. Carn takes center stage with a warm and emotive trombone monologue before the entire ensemble reenters for the poignant finale.

With A Canadian Songbook Cervini proves himself an original and accomplished, multifaceted musician. The album also demonstrates Cervini's ability to mature and evolve with each new addition to his discography. A necessary skill for any creative mind to master.

Track Listing

Skeletons; When I Fall; If, Then; Stuck Inside; Clumsy; Aureole; The Inertia Of Complacency.

Personnel

Tara Davidson
saxophone, alto
Joel Frahm
saxophone, tenor
William Carn
trombone

Album information

Title: A Canadian Songbook | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: TBR Records


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