Here’s an excerpt from a review by Dan McClenaghan at All About Jazz:
“The twelve tunes presented here are masterfully arranged. The orchestral setting never overpowers the message or sound, and Daversa’s trumpet, out front, is soulful and empathic, serving as the narrator of Loren and Justin Morell’s journey.
“There have been great orchestral jazz albums in the past: Charlie Parker’s early 1950s shot across the bow, of course, and the previously mentioned Wallace Roney and and Bob Belden discs; saxophonist Art Pepper‘s Winter Moon (Galaxy Records, 1981), alto saxophonist Paul Desmond‘s Desmond Blue (RCA Victor, 1962), and the Claus Ogerman/Michael Brecker collaboration Cityscape (Warner Brothers, 1982). All Without Words: Variations Inspired By Loren rises to that level of great artistry and beauty.”
Thank you very much Dan!
Here’s an excerpt from a review by R.A. Miriello at Notes on Jazz:
“A twelve-piece concerto that, independent of the source of its inspiration, stands on its own as a gorgeous and impressive piece of work. The music has moments of majesty and poignancy accentuated by warm and achingly moving string section work… Daversa is an extremely creative artist who uses his trumpet as an expressive voice that he has employed throughout with aplomb and sensitivity. Morell’s magical arrangements for orchestra is quite impressive. He evokes a cornucopia of textures, rhythmic interest and aural beauty. He has successfully used his music to promote understanding and for that we must all be thankful.”
Many thanks to R.A.
This is from a review by Carlo Wolff at Downbeat Magazine:
“All Without Words is an ambitious concerto for trumpet and orchestra that gives voice to the voiceless in more ways than one… a long, serious work with a complex agenda, primarily an aim to heal.”
Thank you Carlo.
Here’s an excerpt from Jerome Wilson’s review at All About Jazz:
“This music would sound wonderful even without its context. Knowing where it came from makes it infinitely 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.”
Thank you Jerome!
Here’s an excerpt from a review byContemporary Fusion Reviews:
“. . . If your ears yearn for music that is expressively beautiful and jam-packed with exciting orchestral ingenuity, you will find the 6:32 “Two Steps Forward” very much to your liking… amazing players and rock-solid recording make this one of the (very) best trumpet-led tunes I have heard (yet) in 2021!”
Many thanks to Dick Metcalf.
Here’s an excerpt from a review by Jim Hynes at Making a Scene:
“This work should raise awareness of autism and draw considerable attention for its stunningly gorgeous musicianship. Given that the trumpet is the solo instrument, it will evoke those Miles Davis-Gil Evans orchestral collaborations, but this is much different musically, is played with a much larger group of orchestra members, and importantly is a heartfelt work that serves an important purpose. . . . one of the most beautifully eloquent pieces of music this writer has heard in recent memory, certainly in this year of 2021 so far. Expect to see it in Grammy conversations both for Morell in composition and for Daversa’s amazing work as soloist.”
Thank you very much Jim!
Here’s an excerpt from a review by Jonathan Widran at JW Vibe:
“Besides the sheer enjoyment of listening to Daversa, Morell, and a community of dedicated musicians for an hour, the collection serves as a heartfelt, loving way to understand just how music is somehow able to communicate what mere spoken words can only attempt to.”
Thank you Jonathan!
Here’s an excerpt from a very generous review by Dee Dee McNeil at Musicalmemoir’s Blog:
“Here is a tender, gorgeous album. John Daversa becomes the voice of a voice-less child in the most perfect and soulful sense. . . . The orchestra transmits to us emotionally, via these amazing musicians, with their colorful arrangements. It’s an awesome combination of composer magic and musicians who play life into their music. I found Daversa and Morell’s project to be peaceful and healing; inspired and lovely.”
Thank you Dee Dee!
An excerpt from a review by Marc Phillips in The Vinyl Anachronist:
“The John Daversa Jazz Orchestra certainly treats this composition with the sensitivity it deserves, but Daversa goes one step further. His trumpet here has a little more intensity than in the past recordings I’ve heard, and there’s subtle shadings–despair, frustration, introspection–that give this dynamic music and intense and consistent mood, one more layer to the meanings. That suggests the genius of John Daversa and Justin Morell, and how they created a piece of music that is so vivid and perhaps even loquacious that it doesn’t need words.”
Many thanks Marc!
Here’s a very nice article at Stages Learning. Thank you to Leslie Stebbins.
Here’s a very kind post about All Without Words from Ido in Autismland. Thanks Ido!
An excerpt from a review by Take Effect Reviews:
“A superbly textured orchestral jazz trumpet adventure. The musicians present are culled from South Florida and showcase some of the areas brightest jazz and classical minds. Due to Covid, they all had to record their parts separately, but the unparalleled talent sounds like they’re all playing together, weaving in and out of the gamut of human emotion from joy to pain and everywhere in between on the soulful and intense effort.”
Here’s a link to an interviewwe did with the chair of the Lebanon Valley College Music Department, Professor Jeff Snyder.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 25, 2021
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MULTI-GRAMMY WINNER JOHN DAVERSA RELEASES
ALL WITHOUT WORDS: Variations Inspired by Loren
Available April 30, 2021 on Tiger Turn
Trumpet master JOHN DAVERSA is releasing his newest CD, ALL WITHOUT WORDS: Variations Inspired by Loren, a lush, orchestral jazz trumpet concerto composed by his lifelong friend and collaborator JUSTIN MORELL. Daversa is a prolific performing and recording artist whose projects often reflect important social themes, like his three-time Grammy-winning release, American Dreamers, Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom (2019),which gave voice to young undocumented people known as “Dreamers,” or his most recent project, Cuarentena: With Family at Home (2020), an homage to familial love and the healing power of music during the pandemic.
Daversa and Morell last collaborated on Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra (2018), which features the Frost Concert Jazz Band, directed by Daversa. Jazz critic Jonathan Widran said of the album, “Masterfully rendered, alternately sweeping and introspective three movement concerto gives us a deeper understanding of how uniquely disparate elements can come together to create an extraordinary work.”
As a parent of an autistic child, Morell conceived ALL WITHOUT WORDS when Daversa asked him to write a large-scale orchestral jazz piece.Loren, Morell’s son, struggled with the basics of communication from a very young age and lost his ability to speak by the time he was 3 years old. Raising an autistic child is fraught with challenges, but the bond of love between a parent and child is uncompromising and indelible. ALL WITHOUT WORDS is a paean to the trials, tribulations, successes, and heart-warming moments of raising a 16-year-old non-verbal son. It is a story, told in music, about connection and compassion, pain and prevailing love.
On composing the piece, Morell explains, “Loren can be wonderfully spontaneous and always in the moment. One evening, I sat with him and listened to the singing and sounds that he often makes, recording them on my phone. I quickly returned to the recordings and transcribed two different segments of beautiful melody. These segments became the theme that is the basis for the eleven variations.” Loren’s voice is represented by Daversa’s distinctive trumpet sound.
The album was recorded at the Frost School of Music recording facilities at the University of Miami, where Daversa is Chair of Studio Music. He assembled an orchestra comprising some of the top jazz and classical musicians in South Florida, many, but not all of whom are associated with the university. Because of the pandemic, each section of the orchestra was recorded separately, adhering to social distancing guidelines on the spacious main concert stage. According to Daversa, “It wasn’t difficult getting musicians to participate in this project, even during the pandemic. They wanted to do it because they aligned with the music and intent, because of what they have in their hearts.”
As a composer, Morell has been influenced by Bach, Bartok, and Brahms, but also by contemporary composers like Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. The music on this disc even contains elements of pop. Each of the eleven variations reflects different aspects of Morell’s life with his son, from the struggles of learning how to connect with a child who has difficulty with the most basic aspects of communication, to the constant pressure to find new treatments and modalities for dealing with autism,to the triumph of even the smallest successes.
ALL WITHOUT WORDS: Variations Inspired by Loren is a gorgeous album. Daversa is a musician of the highest caliber. His rock-solid chops and soulful, sensitive approach make the perfect vehicle for portraying the inner life of a special child. Morell did not set out to speak on behalf of individuals with autism. Rather, he explains, “What began as a mission to celebrate neurodiversity became an opportunity for me to connect with my son and hear his voice in a way I had not before. The music is born of intense emotion—sometimes painful and sometimes joyful—and of hope for a compassionate future where all people are loved and respected for their humanity.”
Producer Kabir Sehgal sums it up, “This is a poignant and profound work. That maestros John Daversa and Justin Morell have come together for this collaboration speaks not only to their mutual respect and admiration, but their interest in doing good in the world. Here they have created and rendered a masterpiece, borne of personal experience, which speaks to the better angels of what music can be — a way to communicate and connect.”
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ALL WITHOUT WORDS will be available everywhere on April 30, 2021.