With Halloween now in the rearview mirror, Turboprop is helping us turn the page today towards the holiday season with the debut of “Little Drummer Boy.” For those who aren’t up to speed on your Christmas music, “Little Drummer Boy” is a holiday classic. Originally written by composer Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941, there have been numerous interpretations of the song.
Led by Canadian drummer Ernesto Cervini, Turboprop has breathed new life into an old song with a fun and edgy arrangement. There are numerous highlights packed into less than three minutes, including a standout solo from tenor sax specialist Joel Frahm. Cervini and his bandmates succeed at creating their own unique interpretation. At the same time, they stay true to what’s made the tune such a classic.
Discussing their recording of the song, Cervini tells us:
“I’m a sucker for holiday music, so whenever I take Turboprop into the studio, we try and lay down a couple of holiday tracks. We were in the studio in December of 2022, recording our new album A Canadian Songbook, which will be coming out in March 2024 on TPR Records, and we took some time to record a couple of holiday tunes. We will be releasing our version of ‘Little Drummer Boy’ on November 10th and I hope you dig it!”
The Toronto-based Cervini is a drummer by trade, working primarily with jazz artists. He has worked on many musical and local educational projects, with Turboprop arguably his most ambitious. Turboprop really offers Cervini an opportunity to work as an arranger. It allows him to do what he wants with the music, creating the textures he wants, and crafting the overall mood. They have already established themselves within Canada, touring the country multiple times. Their hard work and dedication has not gone unnoticed, with their third record Abundance grabbing a JUNO award a few years ago.
Turoboprop features a very fine lineup of players. It includes alto saxophonist Tara Davidson, the aforementioned Frahm, William Carn on trombone, pianist Adrean Farrugia, bassist Dan Loomis, and of course Cervini on drums. Their sound is reminiscent of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messenger bands, but certainly with a more modern twist. Cervini has put together truly one of the top jazz ensembles on the planet right now, focused and decisive on the artistic direction they are currently headed in.