All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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...

16

John Daversa: Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Beatles

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
Does the world need another collection of Beatles covers? The same argument could be had about any of the dozens of standards that regularly, sometimes ad nauseam, crop up on new releases. But redundancy is validated each time an Amy Winehouse takes on "Body and Soul" or Avicii reinvents "Feeling Good," and those instances serve as wakeup calls to re-appreciate the originals. There should be little doubt that the works of John Lennon and Paul McCartney—and occasionally George Harrison—need to be included in the vaguely defined category of "standards." On the live recording, Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Beatles, the trumpeter, composer, band leader, John Daversa, shows us why that's the case.

Daversa is still a relative newcomer to the jazz scene though he has an impressive resume including performances at the Montreal Jazz and Montreux Festivals. The Los Angeles based musician released his debut, Junkwagon (BFM Jazz, 2011) with little fanfare despite the appeal of the album. He's led smaller groups and several big bands but his Progressive Big Band is a massive ensemble with forty members, not including a six-person choir and a dozen guest musicians. On Kaleidoscope Eyes he allows the Beatles compositions to unfold into improvisation, developing and shifting momentum and finally interpreting most of the pieces as fresh and contemporary.

"Good Day Sunshine" storms out of the gate, big and brassy with a fine tenor solo from Tom Peterson. Reneé Olstead, primarily know as an actress, smokes the piece with a voice that was made for real jazz singing. The pace slows on the instrumental, "And I Love Her" with Daversa taking the opportunity for an expressive solo while "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" weaves in and out of a carnival atmosphere. "Here Comes the Sun" begins on an appropriately pastoral note but turn abstract as it progresses. Olstead returns on "Do You Want to Know a Secret" channeling Eartha Kitt in her sensuous reading of the song. The one instance of Kaleidoscope Eyes faltering is on the ten-plus minute "I Saw Her Standing There," where the parts are greater than the sum. With flat-out aggressive swing, rap, free improvisation and more, the wheels come off the track a bit. Daversa manages to regroup for the rousing finale, "Kaleidoscope Eyes Medley: With a Little Help From My Friends/Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da/Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band/I Am the Walrus"

Recording live at the classy Alva's Showroom, a relatively small space in a strip mall in San Pedro, California, would presumably be a logistics issue with this small army of musicians. Despite that challenge, Daversa and his Progressive Big Band do a commendable job of bringing new life to the nearly fifty year old Lennon/McCartney tunes. He has taken a chance with several compositions that are not as frequently covered. Daversa's playing—as well as all of his soloists—is high caliber and exuberant and Reneé Olstead's two distinct vocals are eye-openers. An ambitious, and largely successful, outing from an artist who deserves more recognition.

Track Listing: Good Day Sunshine; And I Love Her; Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds; Here Comes the Sun; Do You Want to Know a Secret; I Saw Her Standing There; Michelle; Kaleidoscope Eyes Medley: With a Little Help From My Friends/Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da/Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/I Am the Walrus; Untitled.

Personnel: Genevieve Artadi: chorus; Zane Carney: chorus, guitar; Peggy Baldwin: celli, cello; Chad Bernstein: trombone; Bill Booth: trombones; Katisse Buckingham: flutes, tenor saxophone, vocals; Bob Carr: bassoon, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone; Susan Chatman: violin; Giovanna Clayton: celli; Gene Coye: drums; Jay DaVersa: flugelhorn, trumpet; John Daversa: arranger, conductor, EVI (electronic valve instrument), trumpet, vocals; Jeff Driskill: flute, piccolo, saxophones; Phil Feather: flute, oboe, tenor saxophone; Derek Ganong: flugelhorn, trumpet; Tyler Giroux: trombone; Craig Gosnell: tuba; Paula Hochhalter: celli; Carol Huston: chorus; Alex Iles: bass trombone; Ron King: flugelhorn, trumpet; Tommy King: keyboards, piano; Gina Kronstadt: violin; Songa Lee: violin; Liza Liu: celli; Nick Mancini: vibraphone; Joe Martone: bongos, percussion; Matt Nabours: viola; Nancy Newman: saxophone; Phil O'Connor: clarinet, saxophone; Reneé Olstead: vocals; Tom Peterson: clarinet, flute, tenor saxophone; Kate Reddish: viola; Daniel Rosenboom: flugelhorn, trumpet; Jimbo Ross: viola; Rob Schaer: flugelhorn, trumpet; Jordan Slocum: violin; Aaron Smith: flugelhorn, trumpet; Glenda Smith: flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet, trumpet; Andrew Synowiec: guitar; George Thatcher: trombone; Bijon Watson: flugelhorn, trumpet; Jerry Watts, Jr.: bass; Paul Young: trombone; Yi-Huan Zhao: violin.

Title: Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Beatles | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: BFM Jazz

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller CD/LP/Track Review
Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Vera CD/LP/Track Review
Vera
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 18, 2018
Read In Motion CD/LP/Track Review
In Motion
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Marshian Time Slip CD/LP/Track Review
Marshian Time Slip
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Four On The Road CD/LP/Track Review
Four On The Road
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 17, 2018
Read "Lux" CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "Theirs" CD/LP/Track Review Theirs
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2018
Read "Nightports" CD/LP/Track Review Nightports
by Gareth Thompson
Published: March 8, 2018
Read "Palmares Fantasy" CD/LP/Track Review Palmares Fantasy
by Chris May
Published: May 28, 2018
Read "Return of Robert Dickson" CD/LP/Track Review Return of Robert Dickson
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 30, 2017
Read "My One And Only Love: Live at Theater Gütersloh" CD/LP/Track Review My One And Only Love: Live at Theater Gütersloh
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 11, 2018