Contemporary jazz is Here, the premier album by Canadian drummer Ernesto Cervini is an excellent first effort. Mr. Cervini has composed all of the songs; he is show casing his drumming, as well as his skilful writing and arranging talents on this outing. Surrounding himself with an exceptional crew, he has saxophonist extraordinary Mike Murley blowing hot on soprano and tenor. The piano is capably handled by Adrean Farrugia and rounding out the quartet on acoustic bass, with a solid performance is Jon Maharaj. Paying tribute to the bop tradition, the musicians explore the interesting melodies and rhythms, letting loose with inspired improvisations. The hypnotic "Bust-Your-Butt Falls" comes in at just under eleven and one half minutes, perfect timing on this highlight tune. I recommend this album for the wonderful musicianship that’s displayed.
Mr. Cervini was raised and educated in Toronto, receiving a BA from University of Toronto. He is currently based in Manhattan and recently completed his studies at Manhattan School of Music where he attained a masters degree. He has had a diverse musical upbringing having been a member of the Hamilton All Star Jazz Band and the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra. A multi- instrumentalist (drums, clarinet & piano) he was also principle clarinetist in the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra and has performed with the Toronto All Star Big Band for the past twelve years.
The CD starts off swinging with an upbeat song that reminds me of New York, "Mestropholis" a hustle and bustle tune with some smoking saxophone by Mr. Murley. The song would have been first rate if it had ended at the drum break, about four minutes into the tune. The dynamic dramatically changes and the song starts over as a drum song that lasts for almost two minutes until the band rejoins and tries to build the dynamic again. This is where a good producer steps in to provide a second opinion; this change in dynamic can work in a live setting but generally not on a recording. The CD is produced by Mr. Cervini. The recording production, mix, mastering and sound quality are all first rate.
Adrean Farrugia’ piano playing throughout the recording is excellent; the introduction to "Gramps" is especially beautiful, very touching. The tenor saxophone playing by Mike Murley on this number is great, such a mellow tone. "The Sneaky Two," is a funky track with some interesting breaks, tight rhythm changes and an electronic keyboard that sounds reminiscent of Herbie Hancock with Dave Holland and Jack Dejohnette. The title track "Here" starts out on a melancholy note, featuring Mr. Murley’s wonderfully blue saxophone sound. The arrival of Adrean Farrugia pushes the song along into a moderato groove that everybody picks up on, staying with the upbeat feel to the end of Jon Maharaj’ bass solo, where Mike Murley enters and weaves an intricate path back to the introduction, and the albums final track.