Tetrahedron (Anzic Records)
Released March 5, 2020
JAZZ FM 25 Best Jazz Albums of 2020
I’m thrilled to be releasing this new album of music, with these world-class musicians! I’ve known guitarist Nir Felder since 2004, and I always knew I wanted to work and record with him. Since moving back to Toronto from NYC, we fell out of touch as our lives kept us busy in our respective cities, but I was thrilled to reconnect with him and have him join us for this album. I’ve been playing with Luis Deniz and Rich Brown since 2014, and I knew from the beginning that the connection was strong. We have a blast playing music together, and I’m so happy we’ve finally captured this, with the help of our wonderful producer, and my dear friend, Dan Fortin.
The music on this album is a collection of original compositions and covers, curated and/or composed especially for this group. This collection of music brings out the strengths of each musician and provides a wonderful backdrop for us to explore and improvise.
The Sneaky Two was written for a slow-moving #2 train in NYC, and Boo Radley is for the wonderful character from “To Kill A Mockingbird”. Stro was written in dedication to former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher, Marcus Stroman. I’m so happy to finally be recording Angelicus, by Vince Mendoza. I discovered this song in my first year of university, and I’ve been playing it in various groups for the past 20 years!
I had an absolute blast recording this music with these incredible musicians, and I sincerely hope you enjoy it.
1. Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise (Ernesto Cervini / Oscar Hammerstein II / Barry Romberg) 04:45
2. Forward Motion (Rich Brown) 06:58
3. Angelicus (Vince Mendoza) 05:51
4. Boo Radley (Ernesto Cervini) 05:19
5. Stro (Ernesto Cervini) 07:09
6. Summit Song (Bunky Green) 05:03
7. Wandering (Ernesto Cervini) 04:23
8. The Sneaky Two (Ernesto Cervini) 08:12
Luiz Deniz: alto saxophone
Nir Felder: guitar
Rich Brown: bass
Ernesto Cervini: drums
Recorded on April 11 – 12, 2019, at Union Sound in Toronto by John ‘Beetle’ Bailey
Mixed by John ‘Beetle’ Bailey
Mastered by Fedge
Produced by Dan Fortin and Ernesto Cervini
Toronto-based drummer Ernesto Cervini juggles a lot of ensembles: the Turboprop sextet, a pair of co-led trios, MEM 3 and Myriad3, and chordless trio Tunetown. Add to that another trio, Tetrahedron, offing up an eponymous debut with guitarist Nir Felder and his Fender Stratocaster sitting in to add some electric chording to the mix, electric bassist Rich Brown adding a funkier vibe than is normally found on a Cervini project, and the Cuban-born and now Toronto-based saxophonist Luiz Deniz injecting a distinctive modernist tang. For his part Cervini is orchestrally textural and tight in his timekeeping. It all adds up to a compelling sound.
A mix of originals and covers, Tetrahedron begins with the standard “Softly, As in A Morning Sunrise,” which sounds surprisingly unfamiliar in its dark, foreboding opening moments, as if that sunrise brings a dawn of a scary dystopian world, with the atmosphere drawing its ominousness from the electrical sustain employed by Brown and Felder. Momentum builds, big time, and the tune takes on a torrid pace and settles with saxophonist Deniz leading the charge into a fervid exposition on the familiar melody.
“Forward Motion” rolls down the rails, locomoting on a highly synchronized Cervini/Brown/Felder drive train, with engineer Deniz blowing the train whistle with a maniacal zeal. “Angelicus,” from the pen of Vince Mendoza changes the pace, introducing a mood of pensive loveliness into the set, and “Boo Radley” (the name of the character from that most famous of Harper Lee novels) showcases the group’s intricate seamlessess and clean rhythmic modernity.
With their CD release Tetrahedron, Ernesto Cervini and his group have crafted a distinctive twenty-first-century sound, pushing the drummer-bandleader’s vision forward, as always.
Dan McClenaghan (All About Jazz)