Myriad3 was an accident. Chris, Dan, and Ernesto had never played together until a few substitutions and a twist of fate put them on stage together for the first time in late 2010. Since then, the trio has completed multiple tours of Canada, the US and Europe, including a performance at Ronnie Scott’s International Jazz Piano Trio Festival, a tour of Canadian jazz festivals in 2014, a show at the 2016 Tokyo Jazz Festival, and a showcase performance at Jazzahead! in Bremen, Germany.
The band is a true collective. Each member acts simultaneously as a leader and as a sideman. They play mostly original music that features different aspects of jazz improvisation, ensemble performance and contemporary composition. The band has released 4 albums on Alma Records/Universal: Tell (2012); The Where (2014); Tell((Chip)) (2015); and Moons (2016.) The Where was nominated for a Juno Award and a Sirius Radio XM Indie Music Award in 2015.
Au départ, Myriad3 était un accident. Chris, Dan et Ernesto n’avaient jamais joué ensemble jusqu’à ce que le hasard – et quelques substitutions – les réunissent sur la même scène à la fin de 2010. Depuis, le trio a effectué plusieurs tournées au Canada, aux États-Unis et en Europe, y compris une performance dans le cadre du Ronnie Scott’s International Jazz Piano Trio Festival, de même qu’une tournée des festivals de jazz canadiens en 2014 et une vitrine à Jazzahead!, à Brême, en Allemagne.
Le groupe est un collectif dans le vrai sens du terme, chacun des membres y assumant à la fois un rôle de premier plan et de soutien. Leur répertoire est composé majoritairement de pièces originales qui mettent en valeur différentes facettes de l’improvisation jazz, du jeu d’ensemble et de la composition contemporaine. Le second album de Myriad3, The Where, était en lice pour un prix Juno (l’équivalent canadien des Victoires de la Musique) et un prix Sirius Radio XM Indie Music Award en 2015.
Chris Donnelly represents a new generation of jazz pianists, composers and improvisers dedicated to creating programs that are engaging, entertaining and educating. He is continually praised for his virtuosic performances, musicality, versatility and ability to captivate audiences.
In September 2008, Chris released his Juno-nominated, debut album with Alma Records called ‘Solo,’ featuring a blend of original material and arrangements of jazz standards. This also earned him nominations for ‘Best Recording of the Year’ and ‘Best Keyboardist of the Year’ from the 2009 National Jazz Awards.
In March 2011, Chris released an album of original music inspired by the works of graphic artist M.C. Escher. Entitled ‘Metamorphosis,” the 50-minute composition starts with a single theme; each movement draws inspiration from the previous one, changing subtly and seamlessly, until the music arrives at the initial theme again. The album also features a reproduction of Escher’s work and an original poem by Toronto’s Poet Laureate, Giorgio Di Cicco.
Chris Donnelly holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Toronto where he studied with David Braid, Gary Williamson, Paul Read, Kirk MacDonald Alexander Rapoport and Russell Hartenberger. Upon completing his Masters of Music in Jazz Performance at the University of Toronto, Chris was awarded The Tecumseh Sherman Rogers Graduating Award for students ‘deemed to have the greatest potential to make an important contribution to the field of music.’
Chris is currently an instructor at the University of Toronto and has previously worked as a faculty member at the Humber College Community Music School, Prairielands Jazz Camp and the National Music Camp of Canada.
“..this guy sure knows his way around the piano. And his virtuoso playing blows the mind… In a way, he resembles a young Duke Ellington, but without the swing.”
– Patricia Herlevi, World Music Central
Drummer Ernesto Cervini is making a name for himself as a consummate bandleader and in-demand sideman, repeatedly praised for his deeply musical, infectiously energetic talents. Time Out New York encapsulated Cervini as “a buoyant drummer as well as a sharp composer and bandleader,” while the jazz bible, Downbeat described his fluid style as one that “exemplifies `float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’.” The drummer released There, his third album as leader of the Ernesto Cervini Quartet, in fall 2011. Reviewing the album, Modern Drummer magazine said:
“Cervini recalls such old-schoolers as Art Blakey and Billy Higgins. . . It’s his robust, magnetic personality that fascinates consistently.”
Reflecting on his role as a drummer-bandleader, Cervini says it’s “more about being a drummer-composer in many ways for me. With a lot of my tunes, rhythm is the thing, but they aren’t all drum solos and pieces in 13/8. I’m not writing vehicles for my drumming prowess, or rhythm etudes. I’m trying to write engaging, involving music, whether the tune is playful or taps some deeper emotion. The time signature doesn’t define the music; the piece of music determines the rhythm. And with my band, the rhythm and time are elastic. We’re interacting with freedom, so the music flows naturally.”
There − Cervini’s first release via New York-based Anzic Records, following his albums Little Black Bird (2009) and Here (2006)− was recorded live, like some of the greatest albums in jazz history. The Ernesto Cervini Quartet features the drummer alongside saxophonist Joel Frahm, pianist Adrean Farrugia and bassist Dan Loomis. Of the recording, The Ottawa Citizen said: “On There, you can often practically hear the musicians smiling and reveling in their creativity and musical repartee. . . some superb, high-energy, spur-of-the-moment music.” A review in The WholeNote added:
“Ernesto Cervini is blazing a path through contemporary jazz with smart new ideas and a burning intensity that shouts to be heard. An album that has be one of 2011’s best.”
About his vision for There, Cervini explains: “My previous album, Little Black Bird, was a studio recording, and when the band toured the material after the record came out, it was amazing to hear how the music came alive − the music was really grooving by the end of that tour. So, for the next album, I wanted to capture that vibe of new material having been honed on the road, and everything came together in Vancouver. The club was packed; so rather than playing to the walls of a studio, we were performing to a lot of people who were totally into it. You can hear us reacting to the crowd and egging each other on.Instead of the usual thing of `Wow, I wish we had recorded that gig,’ we actually got it.”
Cervini was born in Toronto in 1982, studying classical piano and clarinet before focusing his energies behind the drum kit. He graduated with a performance degree in both classical piano and clarinet from Canada’s Royal Conservatory of Music, featuring as the piano soloist in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with symphony orchestra and playing numerous shows as a jazz clarinetist, including a tribute to Benny Goodman. Having then graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto (where he now conducts masterclasses) and a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music (during a life-changing sojourn in New York City), Cervini laid claim to a diverse musicianship, one that has taken him to some of the hippest stages in North America. As a drummer, he has been featured as a leader and sideman at the legendary club Birdland, Sweet Rhythm, the Jazz Standard and the 55 Bar in New York City, as well as the Montreal Bistro, Top Of the Senator and the Rex Jazz & Blues Club in Canada. He has performed in such concert halls as Massey Hall, Glenn Gould Theatre and St. Lawrence Center for the Arts, as well as the Sugita Theatre in Yokohama, Japan.
Given the opportunity to share the stage with legendary jazz musicians, Cervini has performed with Joe Lovano, Clark Terry, Benny Golson, Cleo Laine, Pat LaBarbera, Dick Oatts, Buddy DeFranco, Eddie Daniels, Henry Cuesta, Scott Robinson, Dave Binney, Jim McNeely, Phil Nimmons, Peter Appleyard and Ranee Lee, among others. He has opened for such star headliners as Herbie Hancock, Kenny Garrett, Roy Hargrove, Dave Holland, Roy Haynes and Poncho Sanchez. As a sideman, Cervini continues to play drums for the Amy Cervini Quintet (led by his singer sister), Strange Attractors and the four-part vocal group Monday Off. In the studio, the drummer has recorded albums with the Tara Davidson Quintet (Code Breaking, nominated for a Juno award), as well as saxophonist Hiromi Masuda (Maybe September) and Amy Cervini (Lovefool). As part of MEM3 with pianist Michael Cabe and bassist Mark Lau, Cervini recorded Pennsylvania Grey, described by The WholeNote as a “tour de force.” Cervini also co-leads the trio Myriad, with pianist Chris Donnelly and bassist Dan Fortin.
Reflecting on the ideal of the drummer-leader, Cervini says that being in the rhythm section means that he “approaches music from the inside, which has real advantages.” He adds: “I think the best drummers are sensitive about letting other players shine. My heroes are guys like Art Blakey, who was obviously one of the all-time great drummer-leaders. He was so great at discovering and featuring the incredible players and composers in his band. Tony Williams was another icon as a drummer, but he was also a great leader with his groups, from electric in the ‘70s to acoustic in the ‘80s. And these days, Matt Wilson is a huge inspiration for me as a drummer and bandleader. His music isn’t drum-centric, and it’s obvious that he’s enjoying himself − it’s infectious for everyone on the bandstand and in the audience, too. That’s the way I want to do things − I want everyone to have as much fun as I’m having up there.”
Dan Fortin was born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario. His eclectic tastes and stylistic flexibility have led to work with a wide variety of artists in the jazz, rock and pop worlds, including Bernice, The Allison Au Quartet, Queer Songbook Orchestra, Emilie-Claire Barlow, John Southworth, Serena Ryder, July Talk, Devon Sproule, Mike O’Neill, Bryn Roberts, David Occhipinti, Tara Davidson, Harley Card, Michael Davidson, Alex Goodman, and many others. He’s been lucky enough to play at a number of great venues, including Cafe Oto, 55 Bar, Smalls, SFJAZZ Center, the Monterey Jazz Festival, Sunset/Sunside, JazzDock, Jamboree, Jimmy Glass, and Koerner Hall.
Dan is a co-leader of the trio MYRIAD3, along with pianist Chris Donnelly and drummer Ernesto Cervini. Together, they’ve released five albums for Alma Records: Tell (2012), The Where (2014 – Juno nominee), Tell((Chip)) (2015 – Donnelly’s electronic reimagining of their debut record), Moons, (2016), and Vera (2018.) They have undertaken several tours of Canada, the USA, Europe, and Japan, including performances at the Tokyo Jazz Festival and Ronnie Scott’s International Piano Trio Festival (London, UK.)
In 2015, Dan released BRINKS, his debut album as a leader on Fresh Sound/New Talent Records. The critically acclaimed record features his long time collaborators David French, Michael Davidson, and Fabio Ragnelli, and includes 10 of his songs.
His most recent release is The Latest Tech, an album of music for solo double bass, released on Elastic Recordings, the imprint he started with vibraphonist Michael Davidson.
Dan is on faculty at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music, where he teaches bass in the Jazz Studies department.
In 2001, Dan scored 996,000 points in a single trick combo in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (Sony Playstation, no cheat codes.)