TuneTown Returns with a Swingin’ and Adventurous
Sophomore ReleaseAvailable on Three Pines Records – March 19, 2021. Please visit: ThreePinesRecords.com
The classic saxophone, bass and drums trio has a distinguished history in jazz, going back to Sonny Rollins and Lee Konitz in the late 1950s and early 60s. The Canadian collective TuneTown, formed in 2015, extends and honours the venerable tradition and releases its sophomore album in March.
TuneTown pools the creativity of three of Canada’s top jazz improvisers; Kelly Jefferson (Saxophones), Artie Roth (Bass) and Ernesto Cervini (Drums, Percussion & Bass Clarinet).
Entering Utopia expands on the creative journey and energy from the collective’s debut album and finds TuneTown again putting their unique stamp on both standards and original compositions. This engaging and fiercely melodic album combines three distinct musical voices on material that runs the gamut, from intense to sublime.
What comes through at each moment is the maturity and confidence of three musicians comfortably attuned to each other and sharing airtime seamlessly –
Keith Black (Winnipeg Free Press)
Much like their debut album, There From Here, the album plays out like a story, intended to be listened to from top to bottom. In today’s “shuffle” society, this is a breath of fresh air. Starting with swingin’ and strange Hello, Today, the listener is welcomed into the world of TuneTown. What follows is a series of tunes and moods, ranging from the cheeky rhythm changes Billyish (dedicated to the great drummer, Bill Stewart) to the sublime closer, Blue Gardenia (made famous by Nat ‘King’ Cole when he sang it in the movie of the same name.) It should be noted that this track features drummer, Ernesto Cervini on bass clarinet, adding a texture and beauty that is a must-listen. In addition, the group plays a series of original tunes and contrafacts, sculpting them to fit this exciting instrumentation. Entering Utopia is a haunting melody written on the changes to Out of Nowhere and Sycamore takes a new and fresh approach to the standard, Poinciana. There’s also Layla Tov (which means goodnight in Hebrew), a beautiful lullaby which Cervini wrote for his nephew on the day of his birth and Memories Remain, a passionate ballad written by Roth after the passing of a close family friend. The group puts their TuneTown stamp on the great Charlie Parker composition Cheryl, taking it to places Parker likely wouldn’t have dreamed of.
Entering Utopia will be released worldwide on Friday, March 19th, 2021 and is the debut release for new Canadian label, Three Pines Records.
Featuring: Kelly Jefferson (Saxophones), Artie Roth (Acoustic Bass) and Ernesto Cervini (Drums, Percussion and Bass Clarinet)
Album Name: Entering Utopia
Label: Three Pines Records
Release Date: Friday, March 19th, 2021
Here’s some more bite-sized info about TuneTown and their exciting new album, Entering Utopia.
Entering Utopia was recorded at the same session as their debut album, There From Here. What a fruitful 2 days of music-making!
The members of TuneTown met and played together as a trio for the first time at The Rex Hotel & Jazz Bar (Toronto) in 2005 (while Cervini was still living in NYC.)
The title of Hello, Today was taken from a bit in a David Cross comedy special
Entering Utopia is an ethereal reworking of Johnny Green’s “Out of Nowhere” , recalling Thomas More’s book “Utopia”; the title is the Greek word for “nowhere”.
Layla Tov was originally titled Ethan’s Lullaby and was written on the day of Cervini’s nephew, Ethan Lev-Ari’s birth. This was the first niece/nephew for Cervini, and was a powerful, emotional moment.
The voices and laughing on Layla Tov belong to Cervini’s wife, Jenny and his children Charlie and Penelope.
Billyish is dedicated to incredible drummer Bill Stewart, and was inspired by his 7.5-bar blues, 7.5
Sycamore evokes the mysticism of this symbolic tree of the Southern U.S., and is based on the iconic Ahmad Jamal “Poinciana” groove, reset in 7/4 time.
Cheryl is an arrangement of the Charlie Parker composition which uses an accelerating tempo technique from Thelonious Monk’s “Brilliant Corners”.
Memories Remain owes its lyricism to Roth’s Viennese late grandmother-in-law, and her memorable influence on so many people’s lives.
Blue Gardenia was brought to the group by Kelly Jefferson, and the arrangement was borne out of a series of rehearsals and performances. The addition of the bass clarinet (played by Cervini) was the final touch.
The interludes and free improvisations on the album (Flood, Deluge, Look Down, Sgraffito and Looking Glass) were all done at the end of the session as reflections on the tunes just recorded. The intro to Layla Tov was initially done as free improvisation at the end of the session as well.
Award-winning Hamilton-born/New York City-based producer Roman Klun developed and sonically captured the groups’ spanning improvisational style.
The album was recorded at Hamilton’s iconic and inspirational Grant Avenue Studio, the creative “cradle” of Canadian producer/musician Daniel Lanois and his work with Brian Eno.
Recording at Grant Avenue was house engineer and proud Newfoundlander Amy King, whose awarded trailblazing work has been an inspiration for so many women entering the recording engineer world, previously a male dominated profession.
Entering Utopia is the debut release on new Canadian label Three Pines Records, a label dedicated to the celebration and preservation of music from across this great country.