John Daversa Jazz Orchestra with Justin Morell: ‘All Without Words, Variations Inspired by Loren’ (Tiger Turn Productions)


In recent years, veteran trumpeter, conductor and educator John Daversa has drawn on his expansive vision and musical resources to boldly tackle two defining issues of our time – DACA (via his three-time Grammy winner American dreamers: voice of hope, music of freedom) and the pandemic (quintet counting for Cuarantena: family at home). On its collection of lush and intimate orchestral jazz, All without words, Loren-inspired variations – attributed to the John Daversa Orchestra with guitarist-songwriter Justin Morell – it shares a thoughtful and uplifting message of hope and the power of communication in its many forms by merging both large and small-scale approaches. Daversa artfully mixes the varied expressions of an orchestra – filled with strings, brass, woodwinds and chorus – with the intimacy of a jazz quintet, using its soul, lyrical and often loud main trumpet and rhythm section. starring Morell. It was the guitarist who designed and composed the diverse and impressionistic program after Daversa asked him to create a large-scale orchestral jazz piece. Song titles such as “Searching But Never Finding”, “Two Steps Forward”, “The Urgency of Every Moment” and “Learning Simply To Be” thematically illuminate Morell’s inspiration for the compositions: his autistic son, Loren, who struggled with the basics of traditional speaking from a young age and lost his ability to speak at the age of three. With equal parts of whimsy and solemnity, and moments of darkness offset by soaring and lasting hope, All without words celebrates the joys, triumphs, key breakthroughs and significant challenges inherent in raising the 16 year old boy. It is the moving love story of a father transforming the beautiful singing sounds his son is able to transform into an expression of hope, using these voices as the basis for the lush, meditative and sparkling opening, “Loren’s Theme”, which launches the album’s eleven variants.

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Henry R. Wright