Sep 26th, 2019
This is a fascinating chordless trio album with three of Toronto’s best musicians. Kelly Jefferson on saxes, Artie Roth on bass and Ernesto Cervini on drums make up Tune Town, whose debut album is most impressive. The playlist runs the gamut from swinging, uptempo tunes like The Monks of Oka (dedicated to Thelonious Monk through the cheese-making monks of Quebec, if that has some offbeat logic) to brief track The Mayor, a cheeky reference to several former Toronto mayors (you can fill in the names).
There are also several beautiful covers, one of Sophisticated Lady and Cole Porter’s All of Me. The last track is a gentle, lush ballad called A Transient Space, rounding out the varied playlist.
What comes through at each moment is the maturity and confidence of three musicians comfortably attuned to each other and sharing air time seamlessly. Chordless trios with a saxophone lead can be overpowering at times, but Tune Town avoids any potential traps. Jefferson cuts loose appropriately at times, but his soprano especially is simply gorgeous. In any of his many recordings, Cervini’s drums give a totally solid foundation to any tune. Roth begins several tracks with a haunting bass opening that sets the stage for the music to come. It’s been said many times that Canadian jazz can hold its own with jazz anywhere in the world, and this album proves it. Hopefully Tune Town will be around for a long time.