MYRIAD3 AT THE REX HOTEL
On a cool spring evening, I decided to check out the sounds of a new piano trio named Myriad3. In essence it is a classic acoustic piano trio with an identity and character of its own that exhibits itself through its intense original compositions along with quirky takes on standard repertoire.
The three members, consisting of Chris Donnelly on piano, Dan Fortin on bass, and Ernesto Cervini on drums, are placing themselves to be the new voices of Canadian jazz, through their creative approaches to their instruments and the vast quality of original work that they put out on the table. Myriad3 can simply be called Canada’s answer to another contemporary power trio, “The Bad Plus”, with its means of taking the music forward into the 21st century and beyond, while respecting the great past of jazz at the same time.
Two of the opening originals, “Myriad” and “The Strong One”, treat the trio as if it was a chamber ensemble, with its tight arrangements and precise writing. The pieces even build he intensity level into a climatic finish that keeps the audience enthralled and wanting for more from this band. Out of the original pieces, I must say that I loved Chris Donnelly’s “Billy-ish”, a rhythm-changes composition that pushes the boundaries of swing and bebop into contemporary times, making it fresh and vibrant for both the listener and the band.
When I came into the club, I noticed computers, drum pads, keyboards, and Nintendo video game controllers set up. I don’t know what I was going to expect. When the time came, I happened to participate in a friendly video game of Super Mario Brothers, while the Myriad3 trio plays the entire score in succession to the game. This was a clever experiment on how contemporary jazz interpretation and audience participation can work well in an harmonious setting. They even did the same thing to another classic video game, Double Dragon. They pulled off the video game scores meticulously, making it come to life right before our ears and eyes.
In addition to interpreting contemporary material and original music, Myriad3 has a knack of re-arranging tried, tested and true standards and making it their own. For instance, their arrangement of Duke Ellington’s C-Jam Blues goes through various key and tempo changes, creating an effect that resembles a broken cassette tape recorder or a tape recorder low on batteries. Even their stop-and-go techniques and tempo variations echo the great rhythm section of Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams from the Miles Davis Second Quintet with Wayne Shorter.
From what I saw on Monday night, this is a serious trio to watch out for, and it really shows the spirit of jazz is alive and well when young musicians are willing to respect the past while laying hold to the present, thus creating a future that is promising, enlightening, and vibrant. Be sure to pick up their album and for a taste of what to experience at a Myriad3 concert, here is a performance of their arrangement of “Bebop Medley”.
MYRIAD3 OFFICIAL WEB SITE
CHRIS DONNELLY OFFICIAL WEB SITE
DAN FORTIN OFFICIAL WEB SITE
ERNESTO CERVINI WEB SITE
(MYRIAD3 PLAYING TO THE VIDEO GAME DOUBLE DRAGON)
(MYRIAD3 IN ACTION)
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