Philly saxophonist and composer Dahi Divine has already made a solid name for himself in the jazz world. A graduate of the New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music, he’s best known for his furious runs on tenor sax and leading a skilled band of players through extended jazz odysseys.
But in late 2016, Divine’s Soundcloud page unveiled a brand new sound, with his posting of “Outro/Sway My Way.” Mixed by fellow Philadelphian DJ Sylo and featuring vocals from Gabriel Wolf and Jill Ryan, the track is a drastic step away from his traditional jazz leanings.
The track begins with a slow & funky neo-soul of “Outro,” then ramps up into the party-starting, rhymes-driven “Sway My Way.” Divine’s trademark sax is present in both sections, but horns that sound sampled from some lost Philly soul record are also splashed throughout.
“Outro/Sway My Way” is from Divine’s forthcoming Soundsmith project, which he says “tells the story of finding my way as a saxophonist and composer in New York and moving back home in Philly to pursue my dreams, surrounded by family and ‘day one’ supporters.”
So is Divine just testing the waters with this new concept album, or does he have serious ambitions toward more mainstream pop music? Either way, backing up Rihanna’s bombastic MTV VMAs performances—as Divine recently did—is a nice way to bump up your Q rating.