September 10th, 2019
Tracing the historic path of this particular trio type—saxophone, bass and drums, no chordal instrument—leads back to saxophonist Sonny Rollins‘ A Night At The Village Vanguard (Blue Note, 1958). The sound on that seminal recording is raw, rough around the edges, with the trio bumping through a bunch of familiar tunes, enjoying the freedom from chords.
There From Here, the debut of the Toronto-based trio Tune Town, employs a smoother approach, with tenor saxophonist Kelly Jefferson sounding more like Coleman Hawkins than Rollins. The compositions are mostly band member originals, with a couple of brief-but-invigorating collective improvisations thrown in, along with a gorgeous, slow-as-molasses take on Duke Ellington‘s “Sophisticated Lady” and a relaxed, cool-flowing rendition of Cole Porter’s “All Of You.”
Drummer Ernesto Cervini‘s “The Monks of Oka,” a dedication to composer/pianist Thelonious Monk and named after …”the Monks in Quebec who make really stinky cheese” has a sharp-edged zest, a labyrinthine bobbish melody and a relentless jumble of a rhythm. “As She Wonders,” from the pen of the group’s bassist Artie Roth, lays out a mysterious groove, with saxophonist Jefferson giving the proceedings an eastward lean on the soprano saxophone. Jefferson’s “Kindling” finds the saxophonist again on the soprano sax, riding a joyous rhythmic ebullience.
Bassist Roth’s “Transient Space” closes the album in a meditative mode, a spacious, understated rumination that seems to exist outside of time—a soundtrack, perhaps, of the room emptied out and the band packing up their instruments, then a wearied (a good wearied) walk on the the dark street back to the van…