The John Daversa Quintet’s elegantly melodic, rhythmically exotic and eclectic collection Cuarantena: With Family at Home is truly reflective of the crazy year we’re all navigating through.
Arranged by the multiple Grammy winning trumpeter and bandleader and featuring the seamless, dynamic and fiery ensemble action of – and colorful spoken narratives by – Daversa and Latin jazz greats Gonzalo Rubalcaba (piano), Dafnis Prieto (drums), Sammy Figueroa (percussion) and Carlos De Rosa (bass), the fascinating 17 track work is much more intimate but no less epic or socially relevant than Daversa’s three-time Grammy winning 2018 project American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom.
Using the classic bolero (one of Rubalcaba’s foundational passions) as a springboard, the group creates a beautiful and timely reminder of the importance of our connections to loved ones, especially during anxious times. While Daversa explored and arranged universally renowned American classics on his previous work, this time he and his cohorts explore a spirited and percussive landscape full of quick, fascinating tempo shifts and intertwining piano, trumpet and groove elements while drawing from a smaller but no less impactful circle of inspiration: their families.
The opener “#45,” “22” and “#19,” for instance, were penned by Daversa’s father, and the moody “Opus 1 (escrito por El Abuelo Austin)” was written by Daversa’s maternal grandfather. Likewise, “El Ultimo Suspiro,” a raw, rumbling piece that starts with solo percussion,” is associated with Figueroa’s late father, a renowned bolero singer. As a composer, Daversa also covers his entire family, from his wife Tatiana, daughter Hara and his family’s cocker spaniels (the fun and frisky “Puppitas”) to both sets of grandparents.
Outside the family tree but fully in line with the album’s thematic thrust, Daversa includes a soulful arrangement of Debi Nova’s “Un Bolero para Lola,” which the Costa Rican singer wrote for her grandmother. In year where we’ve been all been looking for silver linings, Cuarantena: With Family At Home reminds us of what often constitutes the greatest love of all.