Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Drummer/Composer ERNESTO CERVINI and his band Turboprop release "Abundance"..gratitude expressed

Drummer/Composer ERNESTO CERVINI and his band Turboprop express their gratitude with their new release, Abundance.

I’m grateful for the abundance of good that there is in the world and I feel privileged to experience it every day.” These words, from the liner notes of Ernesto Cervini’s new Turboprop album, Abundance, describe the feeling and purpose behind the Canadian drummer’s incredible new release. Following the critical and popular success of their previous two albums, Abundance will further their reputation as one of the top cross-border jazz collaborations.

The band features top jazz musicians from two of North America’s most vibrant jazz cities: Tara Davidson on Alto and Soprano Saxophones and Flute (Toronto), Joel Frahm on Tenor Saxophone (New York), William Carn on Trombone (Toronto), Adrean Farrugia on Piano (Toronto), Dan Loomis on Bass (New York) and Ernesto Cervini on Drums (Toronto). Cervini and Turboprop released Rev in the fall of 2017, and the album received rave reviews across the globe, including a 2018 JUNO nomination for Jazz Album of the Year (Group) and a 4-star review in Downbeat Magazine. 

On Abundance, gratitude is on full display, as Cervini again features all of his band members as instrumentalists, featured soloists and composer/arrangers in this gorgeous collection of 8 songs. As Cervini states, “although I am the band-leader, Turboprop truly feels like a collective due to the passion, commitment, and love everybody brings to each performance.Abundance cleverly mixes three great (and lesser known) standards with original material written by the band, including 2 songs by Cervini himself. This includes an incredible re-imagining of Geoff Keezer's solo piano rendition of My Shining Hour, originally recorded on his 1998 release, Turn Up The Quiet. There’s also a creative and playful arrangement of Tadd Dameron’s Tadd’s Delight and a lush trombone
feature on Smile by Charlie Chaplin.

Cervini continues to feature the compositional talents of his bandmates, including original pieces by three of them; The Queen by Tara Davidson, Abundance Overture by Dan Loomis and The Ten Thousand Things by Adrean Farrugia. Lastly, the album features two originals by Cervini. Gramps is a gorgeous ballad which features Tara Davidson on the Alto Saxophone and is dedicated to Cervini’s late grandfather, Gerow Van Wart. Song For Cito is a triumphant romp written for Cito Gaston, the great Toronto Blue Jays manager who lead the team to back-to-back World Series Championships in the early 1990’s.

available here:
official website:

Marty's review: With a very apt title,Turboprop's latest release is a sheer delight for lovers of pure and classic jazz. Once again, Ernesto Cervini has gathered a superb collection of musicians who collaborate in a skillful and effortless style that accentuates their multi-talents and gifts to the listener an emotionally-rich experience. No sign of any egos here as each member's contribution is not only professional but rewarding and satisfying. An entertaining and flawless production that will reverberate with each listen.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Canadian jazz icon and octogenarian Al Muirhead new release Undertones...pure jazz from a true legend

2016 JUNO-nominated trumpeter Al Muirhead is excited to present his most intriguing project to date; Undertones. Recorded in mid February 2018, the album features Muirhead on the rare bass trumpet with his new Canadian Quintet. The album highlights musicians he has admired over the years, including Canadian jazz heavyweights Kelly Jefferson (sax), Reg Schwager (guitar), Neil Swainson (bass) and Ted Warren (drums).

With a 70-year career in music, Muirhead is a true expert at what he does – and every time he steps on stage or into the studio, something special comes out of his horn. He is one of the few masters in the world on the rare bass trumpet, and Undertones showcases its mellow and deep tones. 

The album is a collection of standards that he and his quintet selected in studio, along with two tribute pieces composed by Muirhead. “A Tune For Cal” is a post-bop celebration for his late and eldest brother, a magnificent musician and one of Canada’s finest copyists. “Take It To The Bank Tom” pays homage to his life-long friend and collaborator, Tommy Banks, who passed away weeks before this recording.

1. A Tune For Cal 4:11 (Al Muirhead)
2.Rose Room 6:20 (Art Hickman & Harry Williams)
3.‘Deed I do 5:11 (Fred Rose & Walter Hirsch)
4.Tenderly 5:49 (Walter Gross & Jack Lawrence)
5. You’re My Everything 4:25 (Al Muirhead)
6.Take it to the Banks Tom! 5:18 (Al Muirhead)
7.Charade 5:05 (Henry Mancini & Johnny Mercer)
8.S’posin’ 4:03 (Paul Denniker & Andy Razaf)
9. I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You 4:28(Bing Crosby, Ned Washington & Victor Young)

10. Four Brothers 3:12 (Jimmy Giuffre)

Al Muirhead has long been an iconic figure on the Canadian jazz scene. And the trumpeter, composer, arranger, sideman and recording artist has been making listeners take notice for longer than jazz fans might realize. Born in Regina in 1935, he was playing in the Regina Symphony and dance bands by age 12. Muirhead began to take notice of greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and Louis Armstrong. While Muirhead’s playing is infused with the indelible influence of the jazz giants, his flowing, melodic sound is his own — and has become influential in its own right. He unleashes melodies that are incredibly inventive and utterly timeless.

Muirhead has worked with legends such as Diana Krall, Paul Anka, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Mills and Dizzy Gillespie. 

official website: /

Marty's review: hearing jazz in its purest form is a sheer delight, and the senses are awakened and indulged on this new release from trumpeter Al Muirhead and his Canadian Quintet. The years have not aged this master and the musicianship is in top flight with textured and rhythmic compositions that soar with every note. Sophistication and style abound on this release which makes it an endlessly-playable album to wrap your ears around.  

Friday, October 12, 2018

Rob Clutton and The Cluttertones second album release "Leeways"..eclecticism and uniqueness

Leeways is the sixth album of compositions by Rob Clutton, and the second album by The Cluttertones. “The Cluttertones trade in a sort of weirdness and beauty you’re very unlikely to have encountered before” (Musicworks). This album features special guest pianist, Lee Pui Ming: “classical precision on the keyboard with a seemingly effortless flow of improvisational ideas” (Exclaim). The new CD stays true to the Cluttertones aesthetic, with unique instrumentals and songs, including features for each of the band members. The 25-minute “Leeways” was composed for a collaboration with Lee Pui Ming at the Guelph Jazz Festival in 2017. The recording took place at Canterbury Music studio in Toronto.

Led by bassist and composer Rob Clutton, The Cluttertones features mind-melting trumpet mastery of Lina Allemano, magical synth wizardry and voice of Ryan Driver and the intrepid joyful sophisticated banjo and guitar of Tim Posgate. All of these musicians are band leaders and composers in the Toronto creative music scene that has recently been described by Greg Buium as “moving into its own powerful, signature moment” (Point of Departure). The group has been together since 2007, and released their first CD/LP, Ordinary Joy, in 2015. 

Stuart Broomer writes, “Clutton composes pieces that begin with the improbable and sometimes approach the uncanny, strange states of musical mind in which the heterodox elements seem to tune calmly to a new standard” (Whole Note).

official website:

Marty's review: this is an album that takes a bit of "getting into" but is also satisfying as a conceptual creation. It has an eclecticism and uniqueness which is delivered by the visionary talents of composer Rob Clutton and his collective of enigmatic musicians The Cluttertones. It has been described as "otherworldly chamber music" and the terms avant-garde, ambient, experimental, progressive and sublime may also apply. Certainly one for "the listener" who will appreciate the intricacies and development of each piece as it unfolds in sonic waves that transport the sounds to stratospheric places unknown.

Monday, October 1, 2018

University of Toronto 12TET album release When Day Slips Into Night..young musicians with a professional sound

When Day Slips Into Night is a compilation of songs, original compositions and jazz standards reflecting the musical aesthetic and artistic sensibility of the University of Toronto jazz students and faculty. The album focuses on material written exclusively for this band by students of the program in the composition/arranging stream, many of whom are also current members of the 12TET. The 12TET band leader Terry Promane - a widely celebrated arranger and composer himself - contributes 2 additional arrangements.

Drawing from a deep pool of talent, the U of T 12TET is comprised of current undergraduate and graduate students in Jazz performance.  Although quality orchestration and arranging are paramount,  improvisation and jazz soloing remains a high priority. 

Smaller than a traditional big band, the 12-piece format allows more freedom for soloists while still offering a wide range of ensemble textures. The 12tet takes cues from classic bands like Art Pepper Plus 11 and The Rob McConnell Tentet, but also steps further by embracing more contemporary sounds and approaches.

Members are:
Terry Promane - Band Leader
Brooklyn Bohach - Vocals
Michael Henley, Kaelin Murphy - Trumpets
Karl Silveira - Trombone
Brandon Tse - Alto Saxophone
John Nicholson, Kieran Murphy - Tenor Saxophones
Russell Matthews - Baritone Saxophone
Noah Franche-Nolan - Piano
Julius Clegg - Guitar
Evan Gratham - Acoustic and Electric Bass
Keagan Eskritt - Drums

official website:

Marty's review: The combined talents of this 12tet have produced a textured and finely-calibrated collection of compositions that take their groundings from classic jazz and add a contemporary and sophisticated edge to the overall sound. The result is a flawless and unified body of work where each instrument is equally represented and the player is allowed to highlight their talent in a  masterful and passionate sense. This small "big band" soars in its delivery and musical brilliance.