Rooted in the tradition of joy, heart-felt expression, and profound sisterhood, critically acclaimed vocal group, säje (rhymes with “beige”) formed to explore, create and celebrate the music that moves them. Vocalists Sara Gazarek, Amanda Taylor, Johnaye Kendrick and Erin Bentlage have crafted their own notable solo careers, and now are delighted to bring their collective voices to this union, traversing a vast array of compelling original material, beloved jazz standards and contemporary re-imaginings.
Two-time GRAMMY Award® nominated vocalist Sara Gazarek has been one of the leading lights of an impressive generation of jazz vocalists since her brilliant emergence at age 20. Her subsequent career has been the picture of success – highlighted by five acclaimed albums, an ardent fanbase, enthusiastic reviews, a teaching position at the University of Southern California, and collaborations with such luminaries as Kurt Elling, Fred Hersch, Billy Childs and Larry Goldings.
Amanda Taylor is an award-winning arranger specializing in music for vocal ensembles and has traveled the world as an active performer, teacher and composer. Taylor is the founder of vocal arranging company Wicked Pigeon, whose mission is to write accessible, fresh arrangements for young jazz ensembles. Additionally, she serves as an instructor for the Seattle Girls’ Choir and A Cappella Academy, a teen summer intensive designed to train up-and-coming vocal talents.
Johnaye Kendrick is a renowned composer, performer, producer and educator who received degrees from Western Michigan University, Loyola University and the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. She frequently performs her original compositions as well as fresh interpretations of beloved jazz and pop works while accompanying herself on harmonium, violin, viola and percussion. In 2014, Kendrick founded her johnygirl record label and has since released two critically acclaimed albums: Here (2014) and Flying (2018).
Erin Bentlage developed her love for emotional musical expression through ballet and classical piano lesson, and later found her space in the contemporary realm as a jazz performer and arranger/composer. Bentlage writes for the voice in all contexts and released her debut album featuring her own compositions in 2020. She is currently on faculty at the Los Angeles College of Music and the Silverlake Conservatory of Music, teaching classes and private lessons around the voice, musicianship, jazz, improvisation and composition.