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John Daversa
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Jazzy Summer

Live, Miami

Multi-grammy award winning musician John Daversa brings his big band sound to the Faena Theater stage this summer, while the Wednesday night Jazz Series is in full swing.


 “I’ve been doing a lot of research,” said Brian Forti, executive producer/director of creative entertainment at Faena Theater. “The theater and music scene back in Miami Beach’s heyday in the 40s and 50s was built on big band. The Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Desi Arnaz, Jimmy Durante, Elle Fitzgerald, and Elvis Presley all performed at Fontainebleau Hotel’s Ronda Room, and they all had big bands behind them.”

Faena tapped local artist and educator John Daversa to channel Miami Beach’s Golden Era to a modern audience. As an acclaimed trumpeter, arranger, composer, producer, and head of the University of Miami’s studio and jazz department, Daversa selects the program’s most talented students and graduates to take part in his stellar jazz ensemble band, The John Daversa Big Band, which is scheduled to perform on May 21, June 18 and July 30. “He’ll play his own music, familiar hits, and music he’s composed specifically for Faena,” said Forti. “He also brings in incredible singers to perform a few songs. It’s just magic.”

The Faena Jazz series, going strong in its fifth year, continues to be curated by Grammy-nominated producer Rachel Faro. “She’s really keyed into up-and-coming artists. Jazzmeia Horn, Veronica Swift, Christian Sands, and Samar Joy have all gone on to do great things in their career since they performed at Faena Theater,” noted Forti.

This year’s lineup has seen the likes of six-string talent Al Di Meola, Icelandic-Chinese singer/songwriter Laufey, and Gabrielle Cavassa, winner of the latest Sarah Vaughn Vocal Jazz Competition. Next up on Wednesday, May 10, is consummate jazz singer Shayna Steele whose latest album ‘Gold Dust’ recently dropped. With a blockbuster voice that is bound 
to shake the rafters, Steele comes with much experience performing on Broadway in shows such as Rent and Hairspray and has sung background vocals for stars including Bette Midler, Rihanna, Moby, and Kelly Clarkson before stepping out on her own as a solo artist.

On June 7, New Orleans- born saxophonist and composer “Big Chief” Donald Harrison will showcase his mastery of every style and era including jazz, soul, funk, and orchestral classical music. Heralded as a genius by his peers, Harrison plays Nouveau Swing, smooth jazz, and is experimenting with quantum jazz. “The Faena Theater only has 150 seats,” said Forti,

“so the audience and the artist can feel the magic and energy in the room because it is such an intimate venue.”