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John Daversa Jazz Orchestra: All Without Words: Variations Inspired by Loren


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John Daversa Jazz Orchestra: All Without Words: Variations Inspired by Loren
Music can be inspired by many things, such as romantic affection, personal experience, world events and social concerns among many others. This extraordinary piece of music was inspired by a parent's love for a child.

Trumpeter John Daversa asked his friend, composer Justin Morell, to write a large-scale orchestral piece for him. Morell came up with a composition based on his life with his son, Loren, who is autistic. Loren struggled with verbal communication from a very young age and completely lost the ability to speak by the time he was three. Nevertheless, Morell has constantly strived to connect and communicate with his son who was sixteen at the time this was recorded. The ongoing cycle of joys and sorrows in this struggle and the bond of undying love that powers it is all reflected in this music.

The work is a twelve movement trumpet concerto featuring Daversa backed by a full orchestra of jazz and classical musicians plus a choir, The main musical theme is a simple rising and falling melody Daversa plays at the beginning, based on Loren's own wordless singing, which is then put through eleven variations. The leader is the main soloist, working through a myriad of settings with classical and jazz elements. "The Urgency of Every Moment" has a brisk, cascading motif played by the string section that could be an orchestral cityscape written by Leonard Bernstein or Aaron Copland. "Seeing It Again for the First Time" moves along on a creeping jazz pulse led by Tal Cohen's piano and Justin Morell's own guitar playing. In both settings, and throughout the CD, Daversa's trumpet is a bright, glowing presence. He shines whether he is pushing out quietly childlike melodies over sweeping orchestral movement or vaulting gracefully and soulfully over a tense string theme.

The obvious comparisons for this work are the joyful humanity of Maria Schneider's music and the legendary collaborations of Miles Davis and Gil Evans. Davis and Evans never got to work on a scale this grand, but when Daversa blows eloquently over a rising curtain of piano, strings and voices on "Invisible Things" or plays muted over a slow pulse then switches to majestic open horn as the orchestra gets louder on "A Day Is Forever," the lineage is clear.

Some of the titles of the movements such as "A Day Is Forever," "The Urgency of Every Moment," and "Learning Simply To Be" convey the idea of taking joy from the present moment and approaching life with patience and compassion. The quiet, unceasing beat that consistently underlines the music brings home the fact that this composition is about an ongoing process of communication and discovery. The potent feelings expressed throughout are summed up in the final movement, "It's Enough To Be Here, Now" where Daversa's poignant whispers over the rhythm section's soft pulse seem to be suffused with quiet determination and love.

This music would sound wonderful even without its context. Knowing where it came from makes it infinitely more more powerful. John Daversa's trumpet playing is masterful throughout, giving the element of mercurial, unceasing life to the compassionate vistas Justin Morell composes. For beauty and heart, this music is above and beyond anything else around today. It is an outstanding recording.

Track Listing

Loren's Theme; Searching but Never Finding; Two Steps Forward; Seeing It Again for the First Time; The Urgency of Every Moment; Invisible Things; Walking in Our Own Footsteps/The Circle Game; The Smallest Thing; A Day Is Forever/Like Any Other; Three Roads Diverged; Learning What It Means to Be; It's Enough to Be Here, Now.


John Daversa
Tai Cohen
Troy Roberts
Melvin Butler
Matt Clarke
Scott Flavin
composer / conductor
Amanda Quist
composer / conductor
Abby Young
composer / conductor
Lev Garfein
Additional Instrumentation

Scott Flavin, orchestra conductor; Amanda Quist, choir conductor; Abby Young, concertmaster. Violin I: Abby Young; Gregory Carreno; Violin II: Svetlana Salminen; Yuhao Zhou; Orlando Forte; Katarina Nazarova; Julia Jakkel; Viola: Matt Nabours; Vishnu Ramankutty; Ross DeBardelaben; Cello: Brent Charran; Shea Kole; Tadao Ito; Bass: Brian Powell; Ethan Olaguibel; Winds: Jennifer Grim: flute; Alyssa Mena: flute, alto flute; Troy Roberts: soprano and tenor saxophone; Melvin Butler: soprano and tenor saxophone; Frankie Capoferri: clarinet, bass clarinet; Richard Todd: horn; Stan Spinola: horn; Antoni Olesik: timpani, vibraphone, glockenspiel, marimba; Choir: Emily Finke: soprano; Safia Zaman: soprano; Alexandra Colaizzi: alto; Kate Reid: alto; Sidney O’Gorman: tenor; Noah Zaidspiner: tenor; Thandolwethu Mamba: bass; Dylan Melville: bass.

Album information

Title: All Without Words: Variations Inspired by Loren | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Tiger Turn

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