Grammy Nominee to Perform With Jazz Groups

John Daversa

April 4, 2017

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.—Grammy nominee John Daversa will join Illinois Wesleyan University’s Jazz Ensemble and vocal jazz group Unlicensed Syncopation in concert at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 11. The concert will take place in Presser Hall’s Westbrook Auditorium and is free and open to the public.

Daversa’s release Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Beatles, received three Grammy nominations in 2017 for Best Large Jazz Ensemble; Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Capella; and Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals. He is the founder of the John Daversa Progressive Band, an influential jazz ensemble.  In addition to performing at international jazz festivals, Daversa has made appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The Today Show,” and “Late Night with David Letterman.” He is a recipient of the Herb Alpert Award, the David Joel Miller Award and was a finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. Daversa has recorded or performed with artists such as Fiona Apple, Michael Bublé, Sheryl Crow, Herbie Hancock, and Yellowjackets. He earned his doctor of musical arts degree in jazz studies at the University of Southern California, and is the chair of studio music and jazz at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. 

The IWU groups will present the world premiere of Daversa’s composition “Faster Than a Toad on a Hot Rock,” a piece commissioned by Phi Mu Alpha at Illinois Wesleyan.

Directed by Adjunct Instructor of Music Glenn Wilson, the Jazz Ensemble will perform works by Bill Holman, Thad Jones, Shawn Purcell, Stan Kenton and Buddy Rich. The Jazz Ensemble is comprised of interested jazz students from a variety of majors at Illinois Wesleyan. Unlicensed Syncopation, conducted by Head of Music Education Andrew Dahan, will perform works by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Hammerstein & Kern, Phil Collins, Greg Jasperse, as well as a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, on the 100th anniversary of her birth. Unlicensed Syncopation focuses on the study and performance of jazz and jazz-influenced music.  

Both ensembles will team up for an arrangement of “On A Clear Day,” from the New York Voices songbook.

By Vi Kakares ’20