Ernesto Cervini: Turboprop

Edward Blanco By

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Toronto jazz drummer Ernesto Cervini presents his fourth album as leader with the high-flying Turboprop offering a sophisticated modern jazz sound in a ten-piece repertoire of originals and standard material from the likes of Charlie Parker and Keith Jarrett among others. A robust drummer with a forceful presence on the drums, Cervini's style is reminiscent of the great Art Blakey, Billy Higgins and to a much lesser degree, even drawing comparisons to the power style of fusion jazz drummer Billy Cobham. But there's really no fusion on this session, it's all modern-styled progressive jazz with ballads and hard-driving swing like what's evident on the tasteful version of Parker's "Red Cross" and on Joel Frahm's "De Molen" propelling the music.

On board the turboprop are an exciting new sextet featuring pianist Adrean Farrugia, who introduces the opening and buoyant "Unnecessary Mountain" with Cervini's splashing cymbals providing accompaniment until the reed section kicks in highlighting the soprano saxophone voice of Tara Davidson, a new member of the crew and tenor man Frahm. The leader's original "Fear of Flying" and Claude Debussy's "The Engulfed Cathedral," are two decidedly non-swinging tunes infusing a warm balladic element to the mixture of the session.

Keeping the music soft for now is the gentle Lesley Bricusse song "Cheer Up Charlie" where trombonist William Carn, another new member to the flight crew, sounds off with soft solos on the first of several solos from the band in one of the outstanding tunes of the disc. Cervini's strong and aggressive brush work on the very brief "Bindi Bop," and on the humbling "Marion Theresa," provides ample testament to the artist's chops on the instrument. Piloting the plane on one last approach, the drummer includes a sizzling interpretation of Keith Jarrett's "The Windup" and brings this session to a close with a hot landing.

Ernesto Cervini and his seasoned flight crew fly high and mighty on the lofty Turboprop, navigating the musical currents with a modern atmospheric wind of jazz that's far from your standard straight jazz approach. An expressive drummer, Cervini matches his performance on the drums with his talents as a creative writer and arranger—all making this recording, that much more accessible.

Track Listing: Unnecessary Mountain; Red Cross; Fear of Flying; The Engulfed Cathedral; Three Angels; De Molen; Cheer Up Charlie; Bindi Bop; Marion Theresa; The Windup.

Personnel: Ernesto Cervini: drums; Tara Davidson: Alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Joel Frahm: tenor saxophone; William Carn: trombone; Adrean Faruggia: piano; Dan Loomis: bass.

Title: Turboprop | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Anzic Records

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