A few years ago, I stopped by The Typhoon, in Santa Monica, CA, to check out some jazz. I’d had a long day and needed mental relief from the vapidity of the daily grind. About three bars into the first tune, I was hooked and feeling much better, thanks to jazz trumpeter, composer, educator and band leader John Daversa.

 

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John leads a progressive big band as well as a small group. I experienced his big band that night, and the minute John started playing odd meter tunes, I knew he was someone well worth listening to. He’s been running that railroad since 1996, and he’s consistently earned the title of best big band in L.A.

 

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We talked later, and it turned out that John was a big Don Ellis and Hank Levy fan. Hank was my musical mentor in high school and college, and I really respected that John was stepping outside of the 4/4 safe zone and doing what you’re supposed to do with jazz: take risks and go to new places.

On the academic side, John earned a DMA from USC and led the Cal. State Northridge University jazz program before relocating to Florida to become Department Chair of Studio Music and Jazz at the Frost School of Music, University of Miami.

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Yeah I know, the guy needs to get busier, right?

Well, funny thing, now John is indeed getting busier, this time working to create a Beatles’ cover album of big band arrangements with his inimitable style. In doing so, he’s holding himself out to the world for some serious comparison. As you may recall, there was this George Martin guy who did a bit of string and orchestra arranging for the Beatles along the way…

 

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Excellent! Leap and go big, man! Don’t sit on the sidelines and play it safe. Good lord, the music world is drowning with more of that than there is sand in the Sahara, or fairly close to it.

 

 

Not long ago, John dropped me a line and asked if I’d check out his fundraising website for the project at pledgemusic.com and if I could contribute to it. I was in before I even finished reading the e-mail, because I’ve seen and heard what he’s done and have zero doubts that whenever he hits the “record” button, something of serious musical value is going to result.

 

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Jazz is sustained by true believers who support the art and in doing so, help push the envelope. The Beatles are probably the most re-recorded band in history, and if their pop popularity can help bridge a listening gap and perhaps bring future jazz fans into the fold, I think that’s a very good thing.

John’s pledgemusic website link is: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/johndaversa

His personal website link is: www.johndaversa.com

 

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As regular readers of this blog know, and I say this every once in awhile, I don’t write for any company, business, etc. I covered the commercial end with DRUM! for ten years, learned a lot, and now I crank out this little ink thing for my personal fun and to tell the world about people, places, events and such that I like.

Soooo… that said, I hope you’ll check out John’s pledgemusic.com page and take the time to learn a little more about him in general. Jazz is a small community of big hearts, and we need to keep each other going where we can. That’s what it’s really about when the last note is played, so that more may follow…

 

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