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Vocal quartet säje to release first official single on Sept. 12

The single art shows four women in colorful jumpsuits in front of a collage of green hills, a pink sun and outerspace.
Single artwork by the Infamous JeanClaude
Johnaye Kendrick
The vocal quartet säje's first single from their debut album is a cover of a song from The Bad Plus Joshua Redman's 2015 album.

The vocal quartet säje began attracting attention more than two years ago when their first recording "Desert Song" earned a Grammy nomination.

A global pandemic and the busy schedule of these four talented singers - Sara Gazarek, Johnaye Kendrick, Erin Bentlage and Amanda Taylor - has kept their current work mostly under wraps. Their debut album is due next spring, but the first single will be available on Monday.

The group has released three more songs since "Desert Song", but their upcoming cover of "As This Moment Slips Away" by The Bad Plus bassist Reid Anderson will be the first official release of a song from säje's highly anticipated debut album.

This vocal version of the song features three-time Grammy winning drummer Terri Lyne Carrington who takes complete control of the tricky rhythmic pattern. Saxophonist Daniel Rotem takes a solo in place of Joshua Redman's role on the original The Bad Plus recording, joined by bassist Ben Williams and former Seattleite Dawn Clement at the piano.

While each member of säje is a formidable individual talent, the combination of their musical power is hard to match. A cappella vocals introduce the song with wordless intersecting lines beckoning the listener and rising to a crescendo and quick pause before launching full-throated into the melody.

Singing without lyrics, säje shifts from the melody into another atmospheric section without instrumental support before welcoming back the Carrington-energized instrumentalists. The four voices fly around and within each other's phrasing in an arrangement to envy the most progressive big bands.

The lyrics finally do arrive in the form of spoken words from each of the singers. Self-reflection and connection to society are pondered as the group examines the who, what, where, when and why of how each of us can make our world a better place "As This Moment Slips Away."

Fans can buy the digital single Monday, pre-order the forthcoming säje album and also join the Patreon page to support the group's self-release effort. There's also a mini-documentary to learn more about the quartet's auspicious beginnings and future plans. The full album's release date is still to be determined.

Kendrick is excited about this first single, but cautions that their next live performance in the Seattle area may not be until the album's release date. Stay connected as KNKX eagerly awaits more from this groundbreaking modern jazz vocal ensemble.

The New Cool airs Fridays at 9 p.m., hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Washington. LISTEN ON DEMAND

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Abe grew up in Western Washington, a 3rd generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.