Here is Myriad3, a jazz trio out of Toronto with affection for the groove and a weakness for swing. Comprised of pianist Chris Donnelly, bassist Dan Fortin and drummer Ernesto Cervini, the group came about after a few happy accidents on the T-Dot scene.
“Back in late 2010, Ernesto and I were on a gig together,” explains Donnelly. “The bassist got injured and Dan subbed in. A few months later, Dan and Ernesto had a gig where the piano player cancelled and Ernesto called me. After that one, we looked at each other and went ‘This is a lot of fun. We should take this a little more seriously and go out of our way to book gigs for each other.’”
Tell is the record that springs from those adventures, an accumulation of arrangements stunningly attentive yet briskly uninhibited.
The disc features music written by Myriad3 as a whole. “We’ll each bring a tune in with an idea of how the song is going to go, but then we really workshop the tunes and let them develop,” says Cervini.
Things get started with the beautifully poetic “Myriad.” Donnelly leads through godlike phrases and half-statements, thrashing with intensity and flowing effortlessly into lines of unexpected refinement.
Cervini’s “Fractured” toys with staccato and bounce, buoyed as it is by Donnelly’s two-fisted plunking and the drummer’s tapping. Cervini sounds like he’s carefully stalking the piano player down a shadowy alley. The splintered but fun pursuit builds into more comprehensive declarations as it progresses.
Another highlight is Duke Ellington’s “C Jam Blues.” The cats draw a little on Oscar Peterson’s account, spiritedly using the footing of the fellow Canuck while keenly tackling the shifting landscape. There’s a tremendous amount of glee to the performance and it slithers as much as it leaps through fluctuating tempos and pronounced spots of head-nodding awesomeness.
Fortin’s title track comes assembled on his bass line and slices out in the lower registry, at least at first. With oaky accent lines and luscious cool, Myriad3 once again proves their song-building capabilities by spinning this yarn into a robust burner.
Tell features the trio at their organic best, seizing the connection of songcraft and insistent playing as the hotbed for blistering, slick, Canadian jazz.