This is the third outing from Turboprop, the band led by 36-year-old Canadian drummer, arranger and composer, Ernesto Cervini. He studied clarinet and classical piano at performance degree level before turning to the drums. As well as being a band leader, Cervini is an in-demand sideman. He’s performed with Cleo Laine, Clark Terry and Joe Lovano among others.
The album is a creative combination of contemporary jazz and varying shades of hard and post-bop. Each member is a band leader in their own right. All are highly innovative soloists who feed seamlessly into each other. Of the eight tracks, five are originals composed by band members and three are novel arrangements of standards by Tadd Dameron, Harold Arlen and Charlie Chaplin. Every track is a gem and contrasts nicely with the next so that maximum interest and musical impact is sustained.
Highlights include Tara Davidson’s composition “The Queen” – a swirling piece in asymmetrical rhythm with brilliant solos from Adrean Farrugia on piano and Davidson herself on alto sax; Arlen’s graceful “My Shining Hour”, with lyrical trombone soloing from William Cahn; Cahn’s lush trombone in “Chaplin’s Smile”; the driving rhythm of Dameron’s bebop classic “Tadd’s Delight”; Dan Loomis’s “Abundance Overture with” its flute led Irish jig tempo and deft stick tap dance on the rims of the snare drum;the contrast in tempo served by Cervini’s nostalgic and thoughtful ballad “Gramps” and the building in intensity of Farrugia’s “Ten Thousand Things” leading to Joel Frahm’s magisterial breakout on tenor sax.
The whole album has an compelling energy that packs real punch without relinquishing anything in subtlety or melody. It comes highly recommended.
The Queen; Tadd’s Delight; My Shining Hour; Smile; Abundance Overture; The Ten Thousand Things; Gramps; Song for Cito (43.14)
Tara Davidson (as, ss, f); Joel Frahm (ts); William Carn (tb); Adrean Farrugia (p); Dan Loomis (p); Cervini (d). New York, November 2013 & December 2016.