Feb 22nd, 2020
What happens in Canada stays in Canada. Sadly, this worn out phrasing tends to ring true when it comes to Jazz from there. Regrettably so. The jazz scenes in Québec and especially Toronto are as vibrant as they’ve ever been and produce some of the more interesting releases out there today. The drummer of the acoustic trio going by the name of TuneTown, Ernesto Cervini, is even more aware of this, seeing how next to being a musician, his second vocation lies within promoting the music all across the world via Orange Grove Publicity. Joined by Artie Roth on double bass and Kelly Jefferson on saxophone, this chordless venture is another great example of the exceptional talent Toronto has to offer.
There From Here, the project’s debut recording, is filled with a colorful blend of tunes that form one entire narrative sonically, begging to be savored as a whole rather than sampled. Between hard hitting ride swing and running, rather than walking bass lines, the saxophone howls out groovy heads and tight solos over structures that could have been written decades ago, now interpreted in a modern way. While this is true for takes like the opening “A Sonic Handshake,” the subsequent Thelonious Monk homage “The Monks of Oka” or “Kindling,” other tracks demonstrate slightly more freedom and exploratory approaches to structure.
“Split Infinity” is tied together by a deep groove created in interplay between drums and bass, preparing the floor for the delay-drenched saxophone to perform mysterious melodic motifs. All hell breaks loose only a couple of measures after “They Mayor”‘s rather straight-forward head is introduced. The instruments each go their own way before closing, again on a united note.
The two sole standards on the album are arranged in unique ways. Duke Ellington’s “Sophisticated Lady” is given a mesmerizingly slow pace that sees the trio digging into the dynamic range of their constellation, while “All of You” is treated to an intriguing reharmonization. Another original, “A Transient Space,” closes things on a different note—the alto tone combined with the delay in the production being reminiscent of Jan Garbarek’s works.
A diverse sound pallet spread over the compositions combined with quality playing make There From Here a highly enjoyable album. The group proves a focused outfit that is curious to explore different concepts and genres within one go. It does so with success.