DAHI DIVINE - SAXOPHONE
There’s always more than one side to every story. Dahi Divine (born July 10, 1992), better known for his work as an dynamic tenor saxophonist, prolific composer and jazz bandleader, is exploding onto the contemporary music scene expanding the boundaries of jazz for his generation. Now, he’s emerging as a writer, vocalist, hip hop recording artist, and record producer. His sound is rooted in his jazz studies, the Philadelphia music scene, and is heavily influenced by the contemporary music of his time. His newest project soon to be released - a compilation of his original jazz and original beats.
A young man at the forefront of the latest generation of jazz musicians to emerge from the City of Brotherly Love. Divine released “The Element”, his recording debut as a leader in April 2015 and completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in jazz studies at The New School For Jazz & Contemporary Music in May all before turning 23 years of age in July of 2015. Self-produced, The Element features all-original material, and heralds the arrival of an emerging artist remarkably well-versed in the modern jazz idiom whose command of his craft displays a level of virtuosity, eloquence and maturity as both an instrumentalist and writer that belies his age. Divine’s jazz studies included instruction with, among others, Larry McKenna, Terrell Stafford, Jaleel Shaw, Joel Frahm, Bobby Sanabria, Reggie Workman, Myron Walden and Yosvany Terry. In addition to leading his own quartet Divine shared the stage with James Moody, Jimmy Heath, Charles Fambrough, Monnette Sudler, Arturo O’Farrill, Kenny Burrell, and many others.
JON THOMAS - PIANO
With his musical roots firmly planted in jazz and gospel, pianist Jonathan Thomas lives in multiple musical worlds including hip-hop, R&B, fusion, traditional and modern jazz, and funk. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, he benefited from the city’s wide range of jazz veterans and swing-rooted tradition. Creative influences such as Ahmad Jamal, Oscar Peterson, Kenny Kirkland, Robert Glasper, Brad Mehldau lend their sound to his style.
Aside from regular performance opportunities in New York City Jonathan has opened for Benny Golson and has performed with Jazz Messenger Charles Toliver, Camille Gainer-Jones, Milton Suggs, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, the Tadd Dameron Ensemble, the Youngstown Jazz Festival with Sound Doctrine, the Baldwin Wallace Gospel choir, the Kent State Gospel Choir, and the Howard Gospel Choir.
Thomas was awarded a full scholarship to attend The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York, NY. In recent years Thomas has studied with pianists Aaron Goldberg, Aaron Parks, Theo Hill, Taylor Eigsti, Madeline Bruser; Drummer, Ari Hoenig; and saxophonist Yosvanny Terry. In 2012 he was awarded The ASCAP foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award.
ZWELAKHE-DUMA F. BELL LE PERE - BASS
Zwelakhe-Duma F. Bell le Pere’s early jazz education began on double bass at New Haven's Educational Center for the Arts (ECA) and at the Litchfield Jazz Camp under the direction of Jeff Fuller.
Shortly after, Zwelakhe-Duma was accepted to The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA. He completed his Bachelor’s in 2011 and his Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies in 2013.
He studied acoustic bass with Cecil McBee & Don Palma and studied with non-bassists Jason Moran, John McNeil, & Jerry Bergonzi. Zwelakhe-Duma performed and recorded with Christian Scott, Dave Holland, Randy Weston, Dave Liebman and Jason Moran. He performed at the Monterey, Charlie Parker, Panama, Lagos & Osaka Jazz Festivals. He is the 2011 recipient of Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Fellowship and works as a teaching artist for the Litchfield Jazz Camp & New England Conservatory Jazz Lab. He resides in New York City and continues his private study with legendary bassist Ron Carter.
KHARY SHAHEED - DRUMS
Khary Shaheed of Philadelphia received his first musical training from his mother, vocalist and pianist Nadira Barba. His percussion instruction came from his father, drummer and percussionist, Kazem Shaheed. West African dance rhythms and each rhythm’s respective song, dance, and purpose were taught to Khary. These drum rhythms were used for very important forms of communication and interaction amongst the villages & communities of the traditional Mali Empire: childbirth, rites of passage, marriage, harvest and agriculture. Khary introduces his mastery of these rhythms in his playing, making his playing rich and full and making him very much in demand. When he’s not performing, Khary shares his talent, knowledge and drumming wisdom at Harambee Institute with The World African Drum & Cultural Ensemble, teaching percussion, beginning with how to make the instrument. Khary has shared the stage with several renowned musicians internationally and throughout the Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York areas, most notably pianist Cyrus Chestnut, Orrin Evans, Peter Beets and Stevie Wonder at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.