A trio of acclaimed jazz musicians is heading to Colwood on what will be their band’s first tour outside of Ontario and only the second time the group has played outside of Toronto.
Featuring pianist Chris Donnelly, Dan Fortin on bass and Ernesto Cervini on the drums, Myriad has stops in Calgary, Vancouver, Kamloops and Clearwater before playing Hermann’s Jazz Club in downtown Victoria and, most importantly, at a Jazz Vesper at the Church of the Advent in Colwood.
“A band like ours, we need to play and we need to play in as many environments as possible to explore our relationship with the music and explore our relationship with the other musicians,” Donnelly said.
Myriad formed in 2010 almost by accident. The three members, all in their 20s, knew each other as music students at the University of Toronto but had never played together. One night some subs were needed for another band’s gig and the three found themselves on stage at the same time. Something clicked.
“We’re not sure what it is, but we should go out of our way a little bit to play together again,” Donnelly said about his post-gig attitude. “We just kept on getting more excited and the music started coming together even more.”
Dynamics are a key to the band’s attitude and, ultimately, it’s sound. There is no band leader.
All three are experienced musicians in their own rights and contribute equally to the group. There is no lone songwriter, no single spokesperson and no dominantly showcased soloist.
“(It’s) much more of a collective experience, kind of like a three-way conversation,” Donnelly said. “We’re all equally contributing, it’s like sitting down and having an open hearted discussion … with no alpha male present.”
Even rehearsing, which Myriad does at least once per week, is kind of a novelty for a jazz ensemble. The genre is known for spontaneity, improvisation and immediacy. Myriad has all that, but they also put effort into building their identity and giving themselves a chance to experiment, play, hone and grow as a collective.
“There’s an element of risk and uncertainty. But at the same time very structured and very tight,” Donnelly said. “I like when you have those things put together, juxtaposed against each other, I think people respond to that.”
Once the tour is behind them and the band is tight, they will record an album back in Toronto – another first for the group.
The Jazz Vesper, a church service interspersed with jazz, in Colwood will be yet another unique experience for the band. There will be prayer and reflection, with music influencing the service and the service influencing the music.
“It’s a great way to interact with a community,” Donnelly said. “It’s very collaborative. We’ve played music for them and they’ve interacted with us and they’ve welcomed us into their community, we’re happy to be there. It’s a very back and forth experience.”
The Vesper starts at 7 p.m., 510 Mt. View Ave. Admission is by freewill offering.