John Daversa “gets sounds to come out of his little red trumpet like you never heard. The [John Daversa Progressive Big] Band itself ditto,” according to The Los Angeles Times. Daversa’s compositions and improvisations reflect a musical philosophy that aims to stretch boundaries, while maintaining a reverence for the jazz tradition.
Daversa is a versatile and respected performer, composer, arranger, producer, bandleader, and educator. He took an immediate interest in music at an early age, first through piano and voice, and later with trumpet and EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument).
He attended UCLA, studying composition and trumpet with virtuosi Mario Guarneri and Malcolm McNab. Although Daversa’s musical interests were firmly placed in jazz, he studied classical composition to deepen his understanding of the art. During that time, Daversa’s jazz skills won him the Herb Alpert Award, David Joel Miller Award, National Trumpet Competition, ITG Jazz Soloist Competition, and he was a finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition.
Daversa fused performance and academia richly. Working professionally since his high school days, Daversa earned a bachelor’s degree from UCLA, a master’s degree in jazz studies at California Institute of the Arts, and a doctor of musical arts degree in jazz studies at USC’s Thornton School of Music, where he is presently a faculty member. As a sideman, Daversa has performed with a variety of artists including Burt Bacharach, the Yellowjackets, Dr. Dre and Michael Buble (with the legendary pop producer David Foster). He also performed alongside Warner Brothers’ recording artist Rene Olstead at the Monterey, Montreal, Playboy and Montreux Jazz Festivals, and he has appeared on Late Nite with David Letterman and The Oprah Winfrey Show.