The album Vera is the fourth by the contemporary Canadian trio Myriad3 and it is a performance of terrific impetus and refinement, and although they served notice of it long ago pianist Chris Connelly, bassist Dan Fortin and drummer (and multi-instrumentalist) Ernesto Cervini have taken their comfort with the idiom of improvised music to the next – and certainly – rarefied realm. The distinction of their playing begins right out of the gates with the introspective beginning of Mr Donnelly’s expressively flowing “Pluie Lyonnaise” after which there seems to be no stopping the trio either in the momentum of their music or the innovative manner in which their themes develop, motifs and gestures unfold as the three musicians take melodies and harmonies apart and sew them back together – but never before they undergo breathtaking transformations – with numerous ornamentations in harmonics and rhythm.
From their very first album Tell (ALMA Records, 2013) it became clear that here was a group where three unusually strong personalities could collide bringing about not only an explosive array of remarkable ideas, but also one in which this individualism could fuse with complete absence of any musical scoliosis. The result has been a relationship that has grown not only in charm but also in complexity. Throughout Vera Myriad3 make music that is challenging and extraordinarily pleasant to listen to, always shown signs of elegant poise (as in “Tamboa”) and sometimes dark Spanish-like colouring (follow the music on “Couche Tard”), articulate whimsy (consider the arrangement of Stravinsky’s “Piano-Rag-Music”). Throughout Myriad3 covers these bases with music of sensitive melodic profile, rich harmonic turns and breathtakingly athletic rhythmic workouts.
As ever you will be struck by the exceptional pianism of Mr Donnelly who dissects melodic content with a right hand that follows a sometimes gliding path across the keys while at other times provides a skeleton of stabbed notes and bold cadences that are wholly improvised and fleshes out in largely sustained arcs of sound. Mr Cervini – heard here in the key role of an improvising percussion colourist, but often expanded into one that includes surreptitious forays with winds, reeds and tuned percussion, ricocheting against the wave-like motion of the piano and the notched-up intensity of a contrabass played expressively in largely pizzicato mode by the incomparable Mr Fortin who, for his part not only enables a dramatic deconstruction of harmonic paths, but also adds a certain austere gravitas to the rhythmic ones. This is high-flying music in every sense of the term and as such there’s no telling where Myriad3 will land next. An album to die for…
Track list – 1: Pluie Lyonnaise; 2: Tamboa; 3: Ward Lock; 4: Diamond; 5: Piano-Rag-Music; 6: Fortress; 7: DNA; 8: Couche Tard; 9: Meme Art; 10: Total
Personnel – Chris Donnelly: piano, Fender Rhodes, synthesizer and spoons; Dan Fortin: bass; Ernesto Cervini: drums, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, alto saxophone, glockenspiel and percussion
Released – 2018
Label – ALMA Records
Runtime – 52:29