Assembled by bandleader and trumpeter John Daversa, the American Dreamers are an ensemble of musicians brought together to record music reflecting their experiences and personal stories of living in America. DACA stands for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”, which was an executive order designed to stop migrant children being deported. It was rescinded in 2017 and as a result, many undocumented young people in America have uncertain futures.
It was Daversa’s idea in response to form the Dreamers. He recruited 53 musicians representing 17 different countries, and the premise of the album is to present the voices of those in America who moved there at a young age, and who have lived there their whole life, but who may not be allowed to stay.
The 18 tracks are a mixture of well-known songs like “Living in America” and Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”, and some original tracks such as “Salvador” and “All Is One”. The premise of the album means that the songs have a great significance to its musicians, and the tracks that are named after the specific artist that is featured on the recording contain a spoken section explaining their background as a “Dreamer” and as a musician.
The album is a fantastic listen, with a huge variety of instruments, and a very original approach to the big band format. As a result, they received nominations for three Grammy Awards, the Best Jazz Large Ensemble Album, Best Improvised Jazz Solo, and Best Arrangement, Instrumental Or A Cappella. With such relevant and important subject matter, realised with such passion and ability, American Dreamers is definitely worth checking out.
Salvador; Living In America; Saba; Don’t Fence Me In; Caliph; Immigrant Song; Daisy; Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos); Denzel; Stars and Stripes Forever; Alicia; America (West Side Story): Juan Carlos; America The Beautiful; Maria; All Is One; Edson; Red, White, and Remixed (50.04)
Daversa (arr); DACA Artists (v, p, pc, g, b, cl, f, t, tb, acc, ts, org). Florida, 2018.