GRAMMY-nominated group säje releases their self-titled debut album. The LP includes ten tracks that encompass finely wrought originals, reimagined jazz standards, and inventive interpretations of contemporary tunes by YEBBA, The Bad Plus, and The Beatles. Among these tracks are “Desert Song,” their first-ever composition that earned a GRAMMY® nomination in 2020, and “In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning” featuring Jacob Collier. säje is made up of Los Angeles-based Sara Gazarek and Erin Bentlage and Seattle-situated Johnaye Kendrick and Amanda Taylor.
Sara Gazarek explains of the album: “This project has been 4 years in the making – 100% heart, and almost entirely DIY every step of the way. I’m out of my skin excited imagining people’s ears finally devouring it for the first time!” Amanda Taylor continues: “I hope that this album serves, not only as an inspiration to every young female-identifying creator who experiences it, but also as a reminder that each one of our unique female voices is so needed in this world.” Erin Bentlage says: “The making of this record has expanded spaces within each of us that I hope can be heard, felt, and utilized by anyone who lends their ears and hearts to what we’ve made.”
When a jazz ensemble earns a GRAMMY Award nomination with its very first song and the John Lennon Songwriting Contest Grand Prize for its second composition, something unusual is in the works. Magic is a word that comes up often when the women of säje talk about the group’s founding and evolution, and the story of their first single, “Desert Song,” has attained near legendary status. Early in the group’s journey, the women took a retreat in Palm Springs where they formed closer bonds and experienced a creative breakthrough. This energy resurfaced when they had the opportunity to perform at the Jazz Education Network Conference in New Orleans, which then led the women to quickly create an entire set of new material, much of which makes up the debut album.
säje’s debut exists in a space without sonic or genre boundaries, coaxing the vocal ensemble into new sonic territory. In addition to Jacob Collier, guests on the album include vocalist Michael Mayo, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, drummer and NEA Jazz Master Terri Lyne Carrington, tenor saxophonist Daniel Rotem, bassist Ben Williams, drummer Christian Euman and pianist Dawn Clement.
When you look at the accomplishments of the women in säje, their individual virtuosity and singular chemistry starts to make sense. Erin Bentlage has been featured on albums by Jacob Collier (Djesse Vol. 3), Kiefer (When There’s Love Around), Kate McGarry (What To Wear In The Dark) and Amber Navran (their collaboration Golden Light). Amanda Taylor is a Grammy-nominated arranger known for her work with leading vocal ensembles, including Groove for Thought, The Manhattan Transfer, Chanticleer and Kings Return. Johnaye Kendrick has honed a deep repertoire of originals and inventively arranged standards, jazz tunes and contemporary pop songs, having released two albums on her record label johnygirl, 2014’s Here and 2018’s acclaimed Flying. Sara Gazarek is a two-time GRAMMY nominee for her solo albums, and is widely considered one of her generation’s definitive jazz vocalists.
With multiple award nominations and critical acclaim this early in their artistic journey, säje is poised to shine on the international stage with their debut album, paving the way for other singers to explore new sonic and emotional territories.
- Desert Song
- (You Are) The Oracle (feat. Michael Mayo)
- Never You Mind (feat. Ambrose Akinmusire)
- In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning (feat. Jacob Collier)
- I Can’t Help It
- As This Moment Slips Away (feat. Terri Lyne Carrington & Daniel Rotem)
- Solid Ground/Blackbird
September 2nd – Orcas Island, WA @ Orcas Island Jazz Festival
October 13th – Seattle, WA @ Town Hall
October 14th – Portland, OR @ The Old Church
October 16th – Santa Cruz, CA @ Kuumbwa
October 17th – Sacramento, CA @ The Sofia
October 18th – Berkeley, CA @ Freight + Salvage
October 19th – Pleasanton, CA @ Firehouse Arts Ctr
October 22nd – Malibu, CA @ Pepperdine
October 29th – Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room
November 4th – Groton, MA @ Groton Hill
November 5th – Portland, ME @ One Longfellow Sq
November 7th – Boston, MA @ The Sinclair
November 9th – Red Bank, NJ @ Vogel
November 10th – Vienna, VA @ Barns Wolf Trap
November 11th – Saratoga Springs, NY @ PAC
November 14th – Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live
November 15th – Annapolis, MD @ Rams Head
November 16th – New York, NY @ Cutting Room
Source Top 40 Charts