Joy in The Journey

By Pheralyn Dove

There is a certain
amount of joy you feel when
you reach for your goals

Dove Culture’s tribute to The Heath Brothers premieres on Friday, April 15th, 2022, 7:30 pm EDT. We will be live on stage at the Community Education Center (CEC) in West Philadelphia. The program is also being livestreamed. (l-r) Karen Smith, Percussion. Jocko MacNelly, Guitar. Bert Harris, Bass.
Pheralyn Dove, Poetry. Rick Cothran Photo.

Introducing Dove Culture
Dove Culture’s tribute to The Heath Brothers premieres on Friday, April 15th, 2022, 7:30 pm EDT. We will be live on stage at the Community Education Center (CEC) in West Philadelphia. The program is also being livestreamed. It coincides with National Poetry Month and Jazz Appreciation Month. Our generous sponsors are Black Music City, CEC and the Producer’s Guild. Special thanks to Jazz Bridge, the Philadelphia Clef Club, and The Charles L. Blockson Afro American Collection at Temple University.

The Heath Brothers
We are honoring Philadelphia’s legendary musical family with poetry, live music, and video. With this tribute, we hope to illustrate the impact these three brothers from South Philadelphia have made on our indigenous American music. This iconic group of master musicians is comprised of bassist Percy Heath, renowned as a founding member of The Modern Jazz Quartet, known the world over as MJQ, saxophonist Jimmy Heath, whose compositions are included in the canon of jazz standards, and drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath, who recorded with John Coltrane during his early 20s, and has accomplished many notable distinctions throughout his career.

We will perform Bert Harris’s blues, “Drylongso,” during our tribute to The Heath Brothers. Rick Cothran Photo.

At 86, Albert survives his two older brothers: Percy (1923-2005) and Jimmy (1926-2020). A second generation of Heaths also caught musical fire. Drummer, composer, and producer “Mtume” is Jimmy’s son. His 1983 R&B hit “Juicy Fruit” has been sampled on over 100 recordings. Mtume sadly passed away in January 2022 at the age of 76. All leaders, the siblings form the nexus of “The Heath Brothers” band, established in 1975 with pianist Stanley Cowl. The Heath Brothers impact on jazz is unprecedented within one family. Their combined affiliations include, among others, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Max Roach, Milt Jackson, Benny Golson, Yusef Lateef, Nina Simone, and Ray Charles. The brothers distinguished themselves as inventive, highly disciplined musicians, band leaders, composers, arrangers, and cultural advocates, spanning from the 1940s to today.

We tend to have a very relaxed, chill vibe during rehearsals. Rick Cothran Photo.

My First Multimedia Production Since 2020
It feels great being on this journey. Things may get tough, but I always regroup. I stay positive and I keep going. Determination is my intimate friend, my trusted companion. I feel like after having lived all these years, I’ve gotten in the habit of surviving. And here lately, I have embraced thriving. I have embraced abundance. I have embraced living like a conqueror. There is something intrinsically joyful about being on the journey, knowing deep down inside you have fully accepted the mission to manifest your vision. For the past 20 years, I have yearned for a rehearsal band. And, towards the last half of 2021, I finally got one. Hence, “Dove Culture.”

Karen Smith, spreading her energy on the congas. Rich Cothran Photo.

Jocko MacNelly playing around with some arrangements on his guitar. Rick Cothran Photo.

My Bio
As a jazz poet here in Philadelphia, I have worked with some of the most accomplished musicians on the planet earth. This is not hyperbole. I have performed onstage with bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma. I have performed and recorded with bassist Tyrone Brown, who worked with Max Roach, Grover Washington, Jr., Billy Paul, Rachelle Ferrell, and so many others. I have shared the stage with saxophonist Odean Pope, also of the Max Roach Quartet. I have appeared onstage with my own cousin, the late, great saxophonist Sam Reed, who was the musical director for Teddy Pendergrass, and orchestra conductor for Philadelphia’s famed Uptown Theatre. I have appeared on stage in Paris with the Sounds of Liberation Ensemble, featuring Khan Jamal on vibraphone and marimba, Byard Lancaster on flutes and saxophones, Monnette Sudler on guitar and drums, Charles Beasley on bass, Dwight James on drums and percussion, and Omar Hill on percussion.

I have worked with pianist Kendrah Butler-Waters, vocalist/pianist V. Shayne Frederick, vocalists Bethlehem, Joilet Harris, and Ella Ghant. I have performed a week-long engagement at NYC’s Bowery Club with bassist Warren Oree. I have worked with pianist extraordinaire, the late Dr. Trudy Pitts. I have worked with another extraordinary artist, the late pianist Sid Simmons. I have worked with pianists Alfie Pollitt, Adam Faulk, Dr. Jay Fluellen, and Arron Graves. So many super talented artists.

My Point?

It is hard to ask people of this caliber, who are in such great demand, to hang out over my house a few times a month just for the sake of going over ideas. Without having a gig booked, people just don’t have that kind of time. But this is something I really wanted. So, before 2021 ended, I mustered up the nerve to take action.

My Journey
I first reached out to my dear friend, Tyrone Brown. He said that after having been on the road for 50 years, and now finally taking a moment to catch up to himself, he would politely decline. He gave me his blessings and assured me everything would work out fine.

Sharing my ideas with such amazing musicians is an honor and a blessing. I am ever so grateful.
Rick Cothran Photo.

Next, I turned to percussionist Karen Smith. The first time we worked together was in 2018 at World Café Live. Percussion Discussion was a multimedia tribute to Sun Ra, produced by Homer Jackson, Director of The Philadelphia Jazz Project, and directed by drummer Kimpedro Rodriguez. It featured 15 percussionists, and myself on poetry, among other multi-disciplinary artists. Percussion Discussion was a very stimulating, innovative, creative experience. After that, Karen and I started working together pretty regularly. Despite her dizzying schedule, when I explained my idea to Karen, she was immediately in. I asked her who else she would suggest, and she said bassist Bert Harris, who also replied in the affirmative. And then Bert recommended we get Jocko MacNelly for guitar. I had also met Jocko on the Percussion Discussion gig, where he played bass guitar, and I recall really enjoying the interplay. Jocko, Karen,and Bert are three very, very, accomplished musicians and I have to pinch myself every time they cross my doorstep for a rehearsal. They have shared their precious talents and time with me and my poetry, for the sake of creativity and exploration. Getting together and going over ideas. What a blessing each time we get to make music, make magic. I am ever so grateful.

Please Click Here For Tickets.
April 15, 2022, 7:30 PM EDT, Please click here for Livestream: