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Myriad3’s debut album titled Tell, released on November 13, has both classical and pop influences interwoven with a jazz base. The band is comprised of three young musicians from Toronto, acclaimed pianist/composer Chris Donnelly, bassist Dan Fartin and drummer Ernesto Cervini. The trio have toured nationally and completed the album in just 18 months, which is a testament to their dedication to their craft. Although they work extremely well as a trio, all three came from very different places musically. Donnelly feels at home playing both jazz and classical music. He was nominated for Juno and National Jazz awards for his 2008 solo debut rightly titled Solo and garnered rave reviews for his 2010 solo piano album Metamorphosis. Peterborough native Fartin has an extensive jazz and rock background and has accompanied and recorded with fellow artists like Serena Ryder, the Mike Ruby Quartet and Step Time among others. Cervini, a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, leads the Ernesto Cervini Quartet, whose two albums 2009’s Little Black Bird and 2011’s live recording There won glowing reviews from Downbeat and All About Jazz. He’s also worked extensively in New York City and frequently plays in the Andy Cervini Quintet, Strange Attractors and the Sophie Perlman Quartet.
Tell's opening track titled “Myriad,” masterfully depicts the group’s dynamic range. It starts off with a calm vibe with Donnelly’s soft piano play, Cervini’s light drumming and Fartin’s smooth bass in the background. Then, Donnelly gets a piano solo that truly shows off his classical music roots. Soon, Cervini builds up with his drums adding a budding intensity to the track.
“For the Dreamers” begins with deep, slow piano notes from Donnelly giving the song an ominous start. Then, the intensity cool as Cervini’s lively drums and Fartin’s cool bass lightens things up considerably.
The only non-original composition on Tell is Duke Ellington’s classic “C Jam Blues.” Donnelly’s swift yet precise piano work along with Cervini’s drums and Fartin’s bass tapping casually in the background makes this track very danceable and happy song. It could make listeners envision hearing this track in a documentary about the greatest jazz musicians of all time.
The title track is a jewel built around Fartin’s rich bass play while also showcasing the strengths of all three musicians. As Fartin’s bass goes on, Cervini’s drums quietly enter and then Donnelly’s piano makes its presence known. As the song progresses, Cervini’s drums pound more fervently and Donnelly’s piano play gets stronger.
“Mr. Awkward” begins with Donnelly’s fun piano work as Fartin’s bass and Cervini’s drums gradually appear. Listeners could picture hearing this song in a piano bar where some patrons are there to dance and enjoy good music and others are there to drink and enjoy good music.
The closing track on Tell is titled “Lament/PEX.” Its tone certainly gives off the mood of weeping as it contains low, deep, solemn piano notes from Donnelly. At times, his notes trail off adding to the aching melody. Cervini’s drums can be heard faintly in the background but it doesn’t detract from the overall somberness of the track.
For the most part, Tell from Myriad3 is a wonderfully jubilant album filled with energetic tracks meshing together jazz, some rock, some pop and some classical rhythms. If this album is any indication, these three young musicians will go far in the music world and are sure to gain a large and loyal following.