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Butler & Fearrington-Women In Jazz Showcase

rhenda-kendrahThe 7 x 7 Venice Island Concert Series takes place at the new and beautiful performance facility: Venice Island Performing Arts & Recreation Center in Manayunk. This series introduces the artists and the audience to a must-see Philadelphia area venue. It is through these kinds of efforts that we support and enable the Philadelphia Jazz music scene to thrive into the future.


The very first performance features pianist Kendrah Butler and vocalist, Rhenda Fearrington. These ladies have successfully produced two Women's Jazz Festivals and always deliver an authentic, soulful and warm presentation of Jazz music. Butler studied jazz piano with Don Wilson, Kenny Gates, and the late, great jazz pianist Eddie Green. As a musical director, Butler has led many Jazz and R&B groups including, but not limited to "nVizion" an all female jazz group.

 

Rhenda Fearrington has performed at venues all over the Delaware Valley. She is true to her roots which includes performing on the international stage as a back-up singer for Roberta Flack and MTUME, respectively! On this evening, the dynamic, musical collaborative sisterhood of Butler and Fearrington will be joined by vocalists Shamika Byrd and Barbara Montgomery, and trumpeter, Arnetta Johnson, together they will excite the audience with a powerful and thoroughly engaging display of solidarity and song.

 

Coming April 24th at 8pm

Kendrah Butler/Rhenda Fearrington - Women In Jazz Showcase

Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center

7 Lock Street,

Philadelphia, PA 19127

*Directions Here

 

Tickets: $15 in advance / More at the door

Buy Tickets Here

 

Philadelphia Jazz Project recently spoke with Kendrah Butler and Rhenda Fearrington about their work.

 

kendrahPJP: Briefly describe your musical direction?

 

Butler: My musical direction is one that incorporates my flair, as well as the flair of those I direct. I try to get people to think outside of the box and stretch to levels, notes, chords, and sounds that are out of their comfort zones. I had to sit under the direction and study of many directors that have pushed me out of my comfort zone which has lost certainly propelled me to higher heights in music, performance and even direction which I in turn pride myself on doing the same. Being a teacher I pride myself on their being teachable moments under my direction and "Ah ha" moments that do justice to the music and take it to the next level!

 

Fearrington: My musical direction is liken to water...that will flow through an "uncharted course", unabashedly collecting the debris of what I've known, then wash me clean for what I've yet to gather. Always, always a catharsis. 


PJP: What and whom are pivotal musical influences on your creative approach?

 

Butler:  I would say from Classical music, like my favorites: Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Chopin, Prokofiev, Brahms, etc... To my jazz favorites: Monk, Nina Simone, Timmons, Mary Lou Williams, Ellington, etc. These composers and musicians have shaped my musicianship in studying their styles, velocity, approach, and musical integrity.

 

Fearrington: In listening to more Jazz artists, reading more on the Masters and experiencing the passion for the music through the eyes of those who are creating a multitude of platforms, through which they connect the music to the people, I would say I've become more intrigued with Art Blakey. Vocally, Billie Holiday, Carmen McCrae are huge influences; but hearing jazz phrases, or harmonies from artists such as Laura Nyro, has made me listen differently. Similarly, I learned a lot about Blakey during "Another Holiday for Skins."

Rhenda2


PJP: When listening to your music, what advice would you give to audiences to aid with greater understanding and enjoyment?

 

Butler:  I love to provide a background as to what prompted me in composing the song. Scripture, quotes, sudden ideas, feelings, thoughts that prompted me develop the song. I provide that audience with that background in order for them to create a visual picture of the music in their minds as I'm playing the music. I want them to understand my interpretation all while developing their own.

 

Fearrington: My audience must simply arrive with the understanding, that there WILL be a conversation between us. My music/voice will speak to them as if they are my friends. In the first 8 bars, I will tell them who I am. They can trust that. I am present in that moment and 'oft times, emotional in sharing it. So, I need them to be present, as well!


PJP: Why Jazz? When you could be doing anything else, why Jazz?

 

Butler: I LOVE JAZZ!!!!  That's what I can say so simply. It's one of the most creative genres in the world. So expressive... So beautiful... So free... I'm in a ongoing love affair with the genre!!!

 

Fearrington: Jazz is honest. It is without guile or pretense. It carries the embodiment of what has moved a People from despair to hope;  from slavery to Freedom, in all of its expression. Jazz is a conversation, a collective murmur of all the voices of our people. At times it could be a whisper or a rant. But the real beauty is someone will always be telling the story of a formidable tribe of people, that can't be extinguished. Even if they didn't understand the People, or love the people...they are compelled by their Story, and someone will always tell it. I will always sing other things, but why Jazz? Let me ask you...Who is not drawn to the Sun?

 

Coming April 24th at 8pm

Kendrah Butler/Rhenda Fearrington - Women In Jazz Showcase

Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center

7 Lock Street,

Philadelphia, PA 19127

*Directions Here

 

Tickets: $15 in advance / More at the door

Buy Tickets Here

 

 

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Tags : 7x7 Manayunk JazzConcerts VeniceIslandPerformingArtsandRecreationCenter KendrahButler RhendaFearrington ShamikaByrd BarbaraMontgomery ArnettaJohnson WomenInJazz ILoveJazz

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The stuff McCoy Tyner did was earth-shattering for me. The modal thing, the way he voiced chords in fourths, the way he used the pentatonic scale -- all those things were very new.
Kenny Barron

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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.