Abundance (Anzic Records)

Ernesto Cervini’s Turboprop

Released October 5, 2018

Juno Award Winner Jazz Album of the Year: Group 2020






“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 new release.
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.”
Following the critical success and JUNO nomination of the group’s sophomore release, Rev, this album cleverly mixes three standards (including an incredible new arrangement of pianist Geoff Keezer’s tour de force solo performance of Harold Arlen’s My Shining Hour) and original material written by the band, including 2 by Cervini himself. Those 2 originals are both dedications: Gramps, for Cervini’s late grandfather; and Song for Cito – that’s Cito Gaston, the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays’ back to back World Series winning teams from the early 1990’s.

Track Listing:

1. The Queen 5:17

2. Tadd’s Delight 5:47

3. My Shining Hour 3:16

4. Smile 5:15

5. Abundance Overture 4:57

6. The Ten Thousand Things 8:07

7. Gramps 5:43

8. Song For Cito 4:52


Tara Davidson: alto/soprano saxophones, flute Joel Frahm: tenor saxophone
William Carn: trombone
Adrean Farrugia: piano
Dan Loomis: bass
Ernesto Cervini: drums

Recorded December 12-13, 2016, at Revolution Studio, except tracks 4 and 6 recorded November 5-6, 2013, at the Drive Shed, by John “Bettle” Balley

Additional Engineering by Taylor Kernohan

Mixed by John “Bettle” Balley, except tracks 4 and 6 mixed by James Farber

Mastered by Peter Letros

Design by Yesim Tosuner

Produced by Ernesto Cervini


On paper, Ernesto Cervini’s Turboprop looks like nothing so much as Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers—a drummer-led sextet fronted by three horns. But where Blakey’s leadership focused heavily on rhythmic drive, Cervini takes a more nuanced approach. It isn’t just that he routinely scales his patterns to fit what bassist Dan Loomis and pianist Adrean Farrugia are laying down; Cervini drums like someone who’s an arranger at heart, carefully placing each accent for maximum melodic impact.

That’s hardly surprising, because Turboprop is the sort of band that places as much emphasis on the writing as it does on improvisation, with arrangements that underscore the ensemble’s interplay while ingeniously framing the melody. They’re clearly deep listeners, as their version of “Tadd’s Delight” has great fun with Dameronian harmony, while “My Shining Hour,” which takes its inspiration from Geoff Keezer’s 1998 recording on Turn Up the Quiet, is almost a valentine to the pianist’s creative vision. Even the usually sappy “Smile” (Charlie Chaplin’s best-known composition) takes on unexpected dignity in trombonist William Carn’s hands.

Nor are the ’Props slouches when it comes to presenting their own material. Saxophonist Tara Davidson’s “The Queen,” which opens the album, imagines the combo as a big band in miniature, playing harmonized saxophones against trombone and piano over a tuneful, bass-driven groove. It’s catchy, colorful writing, and the full-band interjections that cap Cervini’s solo are rhythmic genius. “Abundance Overture,” by Loomis, takes a different approach to counterpoint, juggling both rhythmic and melodic themes as it builds, voice by voice, to a soaring ensemble statement before giving way to a joyous sax duo by Davidson and Joel Frahm. Abundance is the best sort of musical uplift.

J.D. Considine (JazzTimes)