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Ernesto Cervini's Turboprop: Rev

Dan McClenaghan By

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The Toronto-based septet Turboprop serves, in part, as an arrangement-expanding vehicle for  drummer/leader Ernesto Cervini. With his work in two ongoing, outstanding trio's—MEM3 and Myriad3—Cervini helps shape modernist jazz in the piano trio mode. Turboprop, with its three horn front line—two saxophones and a trombone—gets the chance to stretch his arranging chops, with Rev, the group's sophomore effort.

Cervini is a guy who wears his joy on his sleeve. His approach—with Turboprop especially—is busy, orchestral. It is not understated or subtle, which serves the group well in its creation of high-energy, sometimes playful, sometimes swinging music.

The disc's opener, "Libertine," from the pen of the group's pianist, Adrean Farrugia, is a tumult, full of relentless momentum featuring a measured and pensive piano solo slipped in between some torrid sax turns from Tara Davidson and Joel Frahm.  "Granada Bus," a Cervini tune, has a careening down winding, narrow streets feeling, as madcap as a hot Klezmer workout.

Turboprop's trombonist, William Carn, contributes "Arc Of Instability," that would have fit in well in a J.J. Johnson small group outing; and bassist Dan Loomis offers up his bright sunrise of a tune with "Ranthem," one of the most memorable melodies on the disc, that  dissolves into free-sounding piano trio interludes.

The great choices on the covers elevates the listen-through experience of Rev. The 1992 pop radio hit, "No Rain," by the group Blind Melon, opens sounding rhumba-ish here, with Davidson's relaxed and lovely soprano sax singing, then melding into a some gorgeous three horn harmony, rolling into solos all around. Radiohead's "The Daily Mail" draws the Turboprop sound inward, opening with a ringing bass solo from Loomis.

Then there's the venerable "Pennies From Heaven," the 1936 Bing Crosby vehicle. Turboprop proves they can swing with the best of them, with some Ellington-ian harmonies, some Count Basie-like piano,  and inspired horn solos. Nice!   

Track Listing: The Libertine; Granda Bus; No Rain; Rev; The Daily Mail; Pennies From Heaven; Ranthem; Arc Of Instability.

Personnel: Tra Davidson: soprano and alto saxophones; Joel Frahm; tenor saxophone; William Carn: trombone; Adrean Farrugia: piano; Dan Loomis: bass; Ernesto Cervini: drums.

Title: Rev | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Anzic Records

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