john daversa: wobbly dance floor

WOBBLY DANCE FLOWER (BFM Jazz, September 22, 2017) is the newest project by the versatile, multitalented JOHN DAVERSA, the internationally respected performer (trumpet/EVI), composer, arranger, producer, bandleader, educator, and BFM Jazz recording artist. Besides leading his own artistic ventures, he is the Chair of Studio Music and Jazz at Frost School of Music, University of Miami.

Adept at writing and arranging for bands of any size, WOBBLY DANCE FLOWER is his fifth CD as a leader and his second small band release. Daversa is one of the leading forces of large ensemble jazz today. His 2016 big band CD, Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Beatles, was nominated for three Grammy awards. Terence Blanchard said of the album, “This is art. This is what music should be. No re-creation. No mimicking. Just honesty. Fearless honesty.”

Daversa has great reverence for the jazz tradition, but he’s not content to rehash old tropes. He wanted to imbue WOBBLY DANCE FLOWER with substance and heart, but also wanted the music to be fun and engaging. For Daversa, making music is largely about relationships, so he brought on board some old friends who just happen to be some of the finest musicians on the scene today. The album features legendary saxophonist and bass clarinetist BOB MINTZER. Also joining Daversa are guitarist ZANE CARNEY, pianist and B3 player JOE BAGG, bass player JERRY WATTS, and drummer GENE COYE.

All the tunes on WOBBLY DANCE FLOWER were composed by Daversa except for “Donna Lee,” the bebop standard. The title track “Wobbly Dance Flower” was coined by Daversa’s six-year-old daughter. Daversa was discussing the tune with her and told her he couldn’t decide on a title. So, with a young child’s open ears and open heart, she immediately came up with a name that beautifully captured the fun, toe-tapping essence of the song.

Daversa is a busy musician and educator. His position as the chair of a major university’s jazz department and his frequent tours don’t leave a lot of time for writing. He manages to come up with ideas when he’s at airports where he sings melodies into his cell phone to work on later. That’s how “Miss Turkey,” “Be Free,” and “Meet Me at the Airport” came about. “Miss Turkey” is a high energy, post-bop tune that reminded Daversa of a gobbling turkey, hence the name. “Be Free” is based on a simple, almost folk -like melody that gives the band lots of space to …be free. “Meet Me at the Airport” has a happy, upbeat vibe that Daversa calls an homage to the itinerant jazz lifestyle.

“Brooklyn Still” is a soulful, evocative tune based on a simple melody and a complex rhythmic structure. “Jazz Heads” is a swinging number, and its title is an intentional pun. A jazz head is the main theme of a tune, but 1213 Alameda Avenue, Glendale, CA 91201 • holly@mouthpiecemusic.com • 310.993.4017 the title also refers to the fact that both Daversa and Mintzer are the heads of university jazz departments. “You Got a Puppy?” is another title that was inspired by Daversa’s daughter. Daversa wrote the tune to capture the high energy, frantic fun of a playful puppy. Daversa and Mintzer both play their EWIs on the closing number “Extra Credit,” a short, spirited, and wholly improvised coda to the album.

 

About John Daversa

John Daversa earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from The University of California, Los Angeles, a Master of Fine Arts degree in Jazz Studies at California Institute of the Arts, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Jazz Studies at the University of Southern California. After teaching at both USC and California State University Northridge, he is currently the chair of Studio Music and Jazz at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.

Daversa began his Progressive Big Band in 1996 and recorded their first studio album, John Daversa Big Band Live at Catalina's in 2009. His next CD, Junk Wagon: The Big Band Album was released in 2011 and won Best in Show and Awards of Excellence in Creativity/Originality and Production in The Global Music Awards. His first small band CD, Artful Joy, which he released in 2012, featured Bob Mintzer and vocalist Gretchen Parlato. 2016’s Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of The Beatles earned three Grammy nominations, Best Large Jazz Ensemble, Best Arrangement, Instruments or A Capella, and Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals.

Preview Tracks

01_Ms._Turkey.mp3

02_Donna_Lee.mp3

03_Be_Free.mp3

04_Brooklyn_Still.mp3

05_Wobbly_Dance_Flower.mp3

06_Jazz_Heads.mp3

07_Meet_Me_At_The_Airport.mp3

08_You_Got_A_Puppy.mp3

09_Extra_Credit.mp3

Reviews