John Daversa

Renowned Jazz Musician, Composer, Producer, Educator; Chair of Studio Music and Jazz at UM’s Frost School of Music

March 2019

John Daversa’s celebrated career as a jazz trumpeter has included recording gigs with artists ranging from Herbie Hancock to Sheryl Crow; appearances on “The Today Show,” “Late Night with David Letterman” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show”; performances in top jazz clubs nationwide (New York’s Blue Note, Chicago’s Green Mill, LA’s Catalina); and appearances at the Monterey, Montreal, and Montreux jazz festivals, among others. He has released six jazz albums; his 2016 big band release, “Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Beatles,” received three Grammy nominations.


Last year he released “American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom,” which recorded 53 “Dreamer” musicians in 17 states. This year it won the 2019 Grammys for Best Large Jazz Ensemble, Best Instrumental Arrangement, and Best Improvised Jazz Solo.


Of “American Dreamers,” he says, “It’s been brewing in me for a while that I wanted to make music that serves a higher purpose and has a deeper meaning and intention behind it, and makes the world a better place… This project was so much larger than any one individual, to serve [the cause of ] raising awareness for the Dreamers [children of illegal immigrants who grew up in America]. I felt such a responsibility to represent them well … I am so proud of them and so proud that the Recording Academy has recognized us.” As for his own roots, “I am the great grandchild of Italian immigrants, who came over through Ellis Island. Through my grandparents I heard about what America meant to them and why they came.” As for his night at the Grammy Awards, “The red carpet stuff was kind of a surreal experience… So many musicians who are my heroes were there.”

Photo by Philip Avello