By Nathea Lee
The Philadelphia Jazz Project set out to see what would happen if they brought together a diverse array of vocalists, created a nurturing environment where seasoned performers could mentor younger singers, and gave them all the opportunity to perform on one of the City's premier stages. The result is DivaNation, a sisterhood of singers" whose jazz stylings range from feisty blues to neo-soul. The project was inspired by pianist Aaron Graves
. Pianist/vocalist Dena Underwood
and pianist/violinist Kendrah E. Butler are co-music directors. Vocalists include: Dena Underwood
, Lotus Barron
, Gretchen Elise
, Liz Filantes, Ella Gahnt
, Carol Harris
, Barbara Montgomery
, Bethlehem Roberson
, and Jaye Sanders
Over a period of six months, the talented divas met to share new work, performance techniques, and experiences. The project culminated with a series of performances at Drexel University's Mandell Theater.These photos
are from the second performance, which featured Carol Harris, Saudah Al-Akbar, Liz Falantes, Barbara Montgomery and Bethlehem Roberson. Kendrah E. Butler & Ensemble opened the set with Butler's original tune, Instrumental Prelude-Diva Walk," which was arranged by Ella Gahnt.
The formidable ensemble included Bob Whitt (bass); Darryl Jackson (drums); Nasir Dickerson (saxophone); and Doc Gibbs (percussion).