Dahi Divine

“My goal for this recording was to feature arrangements interweaving jazz melodies and harmonies that had specific West African rhythms underlying them,” Divine recalled.

“More recently I studied West African chant and classical saxophone with Yosvany at the New School. The main things I looked for when selecting musicians for this recording were how well versed they were in jazz, spiritual and gospel music and also how familiar they were with West African grooves,” he continued. “Brett has such a strong lyrical presence on piano; you can really hear the influence of soul and gospel in his harmonics,” Divine said. “Anton holds everything down with a rock-solid bottom on bass and Justin is the perfect catalyst on drums – he’s able to maintain momentum, move things forward and light a fire under everybody when necessary!”

The album leads off with its title track and right from the start one hears the various stylistic elements that inform Divine’s writing as well as his and his bandmates’ playing. Rather than having one central pulse to focus on, “The Element” features several textural variations on a common theme that climax and change in energy according to which player one happens to be listening to. “Love Tap To The Solar Plexus” is a metric tune that, in addition to sections with four beats per measure, has one in 15/8 clearly influenced by West African rhythms. “The Assassin,” is a modal composition in the spirit of mid-1960s modern jazz classics like Coltrane’s “One Down, One Up” and McCoy Tyner’s “Four By Five.” The progressions and harmonies of “Night Is Near” pay tribute to Wayne Shorter whose music Divine not only learned on the sax but also on the piano; one hears echoes of “Children Of The Night” at the beginning of the tune and elements of “Speak No Evil” are quoted at the end. “Ajna” is inspired by Divine’s interest in Hindu practices and teachings; the word is sanskrit for the Third Eye Chakra of intuition and intellect. “Griot’s Tale,” one of the most popular songs in Divine’s repertoire, is a tribute to his father.

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  1. 1 The Element 10:22 Info
  2. 2 Love Tap To The Solar Plexus 08:28
  3. 3 The Assassin 07:52
  4. 4 Night Is Near 07:59
  5. 5 Ajna 09:12 Lyrics
  6. 6 Griot's Tale 09:32

CONTACT: admin@dahidivine.com


The number of notable jazz artists who where born, raised or lived in Philadelphia is extensive. One can add Dahi Divine to the list.
What sets Divine apart from other young lions today is that he moves the music forward in new directions while demonstrating his deep respect for the trailblazing work of tenor titans who came before him.  He rhythmically respects the tradition of swing while exploring new musical concepts that make you want to dance, groove or reflect.
Divine already started paying his dues and honing his chops in the New York City jazz scene.  He released The Element, his self-produced, recording debut as a leader featuring all-original, straight-ahead material in April 2015.  The following month he completed his final semester of jazz studies at The New School For Jazz & Contemporary Music and that July celebrated his 23rd birthday.  
The Element announces the arrival of an emerging artist whose command of his craft displays a level of virtuosity, eloquence and maturity as both an instrumentalist and writer that belies his age.
In July, 2015 Divine was selected by Wynton Marsalis and Jazz At Lincoln Center to perform for the Museum of Modern Art’s “New Music for New York“ series.  The program features an emerging composer performing a world premiere composition.
Divine performs regularly at venues in Philadelphia and New York. Recently he performed in Rihanna’s band during her finale performance during the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards. His big band compositions were performed during the 2016 Chicago Jazz Festival. During the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards in LA he performed in the horn line of the Dave Matthews Band having been selected from a pool of 800 auditions submitted from around the US.  Divine’s group headlined Carney's Main Room at The Exit Zero Jazz Festival, The Cape May Jazz Festival, Chicken Bone Beach Jazz Festival, Center City Jazz Festival, and West Oak Lane Jazz Festivals. His vibrant live performances take audiences on a funky, soulful and swingin’ musical journey.



L to R:  Theo Hill, piano; Zwelakhe-Duma F. Bell le Pere, bass; DAHI DIVINE, tenor saxophone; Albert Baliwas, alto sax; Khary Shaheed, drums.

L to R: Theo Hill, piano; Zwelakhe-Duma F. Bell le Pere, bass; DAHI DIVINE, tenor saxophone; Albert Baliwas, alto sax; Khary Shaheed, drums.

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.

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’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 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. 


Jazz at Lincoln Center presents Dahi Divine at the Museum of Modern Art, July 2015
The Dahi Divine Quartet performs Sam River's Beatrice @ The Art Museum of Philadelphia, Oct 2015
The performance shown is of the Dahi Divine Quartet performing "Softly' during the Center City Jazz Festival in Philadelphia, PA


"Tenor saxist Dahi Divine makes a strong debut here...A mix of American and African souls is well served here. Want to see this guy in concert!"

Notable 2015 releases

"THANK YOU, THANK YOU for bringing energy, joy and great music to MoMA's Sculpture Garden. I'm amazed at your talent and the musicianship of all the guys who played. You all have wonderful careers ahead and I'll be watching you as you continue to rise. "
Melanie Monios
Assistant Director
The Museum of Modern Art

"Your performance was great."
Eric D. Wright
Jazz at Lincoln Center

"I'm loving this album!  The Element by Dahi Divine!"
Twistedsoul @Twistedsoulblog

“It’s difficult not to become a figure in the jazz scene after your first big performance is on the horn line for the Dave Matthews Band at the Grammy Awards.”
Michael Kline, Founder
Exit 0 International Jazz Festival

“For whatever reason the city is on a roll with jazz prodigies lately..... Next in line is tenor saxophonist Dahi Divine, whose impressive credentials already include sharing the stage with the Dave Matthews Band.”
Shaun Brady, Editor Arts & Entertainment
Philadelphia City Paper

Stage Plot & Technical Rider