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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

CD Review : MYRIAD3 - TELL


(Review by Dave Brownlow)
Chris Donnelly (pno), Don Fortin (bass) and Ernesto Cervini (dms).
Donnelly is an acclaimed pianist/composer equally at home in jazz and classical music,
Fortin has a background of jazz and rock and Cervini, a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music plays in or leads several local ensembles. Fortin explains “with MYRIAD3, a lot of varied styles and approaches converge, and that makes for a very different music”. This is very true and the album by the recently formed Toronto based group is far from the usual piano/bass/drums trio in the jazz tradition It is more that bass and drums have equality with the piano and where each musician contributes as they “share ideas and craft each piece collectively”. There are frequent mood, tempo or style changes within each piece. Of the 11 tracks on the CD, the pianist contributes 4 originals, the bassist 3 the drummer 3 and there is 1 standard - Duke Ellington’s C Jam Blues.

Myriad has a jaunty almost “country” feel at the start and then goes through several mood changes which go in different directions. Fractured is an exploration of arpeggio figures which intertwine between bass and piano; slightly “Monkish” at times, it’s aptly named! For The Dreamers begins with a gentle “Satie”- like repeated phrase which develops in intensity with some clashing “Cecil Taylor”- like chords together with thrashing drums leading to a sudden conclusion.
C Jam Blues begins conventionally enough when suddenly after 45 seconds the tempo and chord sequence changes with the band speeding up and slowing down in a somewhat schizophrenic fashion. “Duke” would have been an interested listener to hear his song dissected like this…….Disturbing Inspiration is in two parts. In the first there are two contrasting themes – one peaceful, the other more aggressive- which the trio switch between several times. Part 2 begins with a bass vamp which quickly becomes more complex as drums and piano enter. The drummer shines on this one.
Tell uses a simple 12-bar blues chord structure but is unlike any blues I've ever heard. Drifters begins with an almost “Debussyian” repeated chordal motif with some lovely piano developments. Be Still And Yet opens with a bass/piano vamp which continues throughout with some tempo changes; meanwhile the drums scuttle and thrash around in the background in a frantic chase. Mr Awkward is a slightly more conventional blues which features a pleasant piano solo. The trio have fun at the end seemingly unable to finish the piece. An awkward chord won’t resolve……..
Donnelly introduces huge disturbing “Tyner”- like chords in his solo as it builds, fades and builds - again with thundering drums accompaniment.
Lament/PEX starts in a stately fashion using a repeating minor “ground bass” figure which builds in intensity concluding in a joyous “J.S.Bachian” – like cadenza with the band at full throttle.
Despite my early misgivings, I’ve grown to like many parts of this music through repeated listening. I suggest it may appeal to the jazz listener who also has some interest in various genres of classical music.
David Brownlow.
The CD MYRIAD3 – TELL was released in November 2012 on Alma Records LC 13990.

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