All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

4

John Daversa Big Band at The Baked Potato

Paul Naser By

Sign in to view read count
John Daversa Big Band
The Baked Potato
Los Angeles, CA
May 29, 2016

It's a rarity to find a modern big band dedicated to playing original music in Los Angeles; home to some of the world's most talented musicians and entertainers, pretty much every style of music imaginable is represented here, but often a big band show celebrates music of the past more than it looks to the future. John Daversa's big band does the latter. Exclusively.

This is no news to fans of Daversa's who have followed his career for years and who recently celebrated the release of his newest record, Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Beatles. These same fans packed the house Sunday night at that storied L.A. joint, The Baked Potato, and proved that big band music isn't going anywhere, with help from innovative arrangements played by a killing band of course.

From the opening notes of the first tune, it was obvious that both the band and the crowd were happy to be back. Daversa's big band built a strong following during it's long time residency at The Baked Potato, but since his move to Miami, what was once a regular hang has become a less frequent yet just as joyful occasion. Beginning with one of the Beatles arrangements, his high energy take on "I Saw Her Standing There," Daversa quickly relaxed into his role as a bandleader. Half dancing, half conducting, he led the band through the driving setting of the melody until the rhythm section took over for the funky solo section, which featured lead alto Jeff Driskill. Daversa took the second solo, playing with the backgrounds as if they were part of his own improvisation.

The band continued with "Camels," a Daversa original that has been in their book for years. The slow opening features beautiful playing and harmonies from the woodwinds, but the real stars were the trombone soloists. Both Paul Young and Jon Hatamiya took the audience for a ride as drummer Gene Coye both supported and pushed them.

The highlights of the evening were yet to come, though. With, as John told the audience afterwards, no rehearsal, guest vocalist Maiya Sykes delivered jaw dropping performances of the two vocal features from Kaleidoscope Eyes. From the opening notes of "Do You Want to Know a Secret?," Sykes' rich tone filled the room and proceeded to float beautifully atop Daversa's lush orchestration. More impressive still was her delivery of his tricky re-imagination of "Good Day Sunshine." Featuring consistently changing meters and complex accents, Sykes not only sang her parts flawlessly, she sang in harmony with the band, ad libbing parts that weren't even on the record. Needless to say, the audience was floored by her artistry.

The band closed their set with a Daversa favorite, "Some Happy Sh*t." Switching meters constantly, this up-tempo and, no surprise here, happy tune gives Daversa the opportunity to show the versatility and range of his EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument).

The band was on fire, and if the talk floating around the room was any indication, they were just continuing the trend for the weekend, having played an "epic" show the night before. Sunday listeners certainly didn't leave feeling like they missed out, that's for certain; getting to hear Maiya Sykes bring the Beatles melodies to life was incredible to watch. We can only hope we get to hear her do it again in the near future.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia 2018 Live Reviews
Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood Vampires, Black Asteroids & Paul Lamb Live Reviews
Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood...
by Martin Longley
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe Live Reviews
Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe
by Chris May
Published: September 15, 2018
Read 12 Points 2018 Live Reviews
12 Points 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 14, 2018
Read Chicago Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Chicago Jazz Festival 2018
by Patrick Burnette
Published: September 12, 2018
Read "King Crimson at Lisner Auditorium" Live Reviews King Crimson at Lisner Auditorium
by Eric Thiessen
Published: November 1, 2017
Read "Dixie Dregs at Lincoln Theatre" Live Reviews Dixie Dregs at Lincoln Theatre
by Eric Thiessen
Published: March 18, 2018
Read "Le French May’s Live Jazz Series in Hong Kong" Live Reviews Le French May’s Live Jazz Series in Hong Kong
by Rob Garratt
Published: June 11, 2018
Read "Nik Bärtsch's Ronin at (Le) Poisson Rouge" Live Reviews Nik Bärtsch's Ronin at (Le) Poisson Rouge
by Tyran Grillo
Published: May 11, 2018