Review: Ernesto Cervini Quartet - There

The next best thing to being There.
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Ernesto Cervini Quartet -  ThreeRecorded live in November of 2010 at Cory Weed’s Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver (my home town), Ernesto Cervini’s third recording as a leader is an energetic, ultimately present piece of work.

There, as it is aptly titled, features the drummer/composer along with Joel Frahm (saxophones), Adrean Farrugia (piano) and Dan Loomis (bass). At the forefront is Cervini’s dynamic stick work.

The record captures the live experience well and really zeroes in on the drums as they form the hinge on just about every composition on the record. That’s not to say that the other instruments aren’t given their due, of course, but a few spins through the old headphones reveals that this really is a drum-oriented jazz record.

The band hauls ass through nine tracks, swinging for the fences on Cervini’s compositions with style and flavour that the Vancouver crowd certainly appreciates with robust applause. You can tell that the energy in the room is off the charts.

Cervini is based out of Toronto. He’s shared the stage with the likes of Dick Oatts, Joe Lovano, Clark Terry, and Scott Robinson. He definitely gels with his quartet and generates a lot of get-up-and-go with his playing, drawing out the best in his accompanying players.

“Granada Bus” kicks off There with a bit of cheek. Its bass line comes from the melody signifying the arrival of the bus in Granada. Cervini stretches it out to a gleeful romp, working in his fills and solid drum work to go with the triumphant playing from the rest of the group. The tune moves in compound triple time (9/8) and really rips it out of the box.

Some might think it hard to preserve the same pacing throughout, but There really packs a punch. Cervini’s quartet is more than game to kick on spacious jams like Farrugia’s “Woebegone” and the firm finishing canter of “Little Black Bird.”

There are moments where a little more serenity comes into play, mind you, and these are welcome breaks. “Gramps” is a tender ballad written for Cervini’s grandfather and “TGV” is a sly number that packs a lively drum solo toward the end.

There really does the job of putting the listener right there with the music and the crowd. Potent and built to last, this album from Cervini’s quartet is a solid example of what can go right when the audience and the band are set upon the same groovy path.