John Daversa's arrangements and compositions incorporate a high degree of hip-ness. A superb trumpeter who maximizes his use of the Electric Valve Instrument (EVI) via rippling notes and compelling solo spots within the grand schema, he fuses hip-hop, funk, rock, and the jazz element into an uncannily coherent form-factor. Audacious, brassy, and energized are simply a few appropriate descriptors.
Davera's compositions sustain interest, whether the big band is whirling through smoothly harmonious choruses or contrasting phased-out rock riffs, the album casts a prismatic stance throughout. It's a democratic engagement, where the trumpeter affords his associates plenty of room to explore. With cleanly-articulated shifts in design, the music takes on many characteristics, yet bears the imprint of a group-centric methodology under the direction of a visionary leader.
"Camels" is a piece that offers a slice of many avenues navigated during the program. Here, the musicians put the gears in motion with a peaceable storyline, evidenced by low-key horns and a scheming course of development. Then flutist Jeff Driskill generates a flotation-like sequence over-the-top, leading to punchy horns and a gradual ascension built on strategically placed layers and ominous undertones. Needless to say, imagery looms as a prevailing aspect, as the band delves into contrapuntal statements amid delicate textures and scathing firepower. However, it's largely about alternating moods and shifting dialogues, contrasted by flourishing melodies and linear progressions.
Daversa's acuity and enlivening game-plan yield numerous rewards at many levels. He's a cunning operator who casts the big band sound into a many-sided realm of possibilities. It's akin to a modern age rite of passage for a new and invigorating approach to the big band line of thought and mode of attack. Daversa defies tradition and pulls it off without a hitch, but accomplishes his mission with an irrefutable mark of authenticity.