Why jazz is worship music


I can relax now, because Mike said this just right. I literally have nothing to add, and when this topic comes up again, I’ll refer them here. Full text at the link below, or just read the quote. Then go practice.

The Breath of God in Broken Pieces: On Jazz at Addison Road: “The beauty of Jazz is this; Coltrane, and Monk, and McCoy Tyner, and Ella, they all dance the same twelve steps that Bach, Mozart, and Handel danced. That’s it. That’s all we get, the same twelve steps. They all get a fixed amount of time, from first note to last breath, and they all break it down into groups of two and three. That’s it. Just twos and threes.

We who create in this world are working with someone else’s clay. We aren’t creating, we’re recreating. We act in the way that our Father taught us to act, when he breathed into us his image. From that moment on, we set about the mystic task of gathering dust, adding water, and recreating.

Jazz is an infinite statement of recreation. It lives, as all music does, within the brutal confines of physical constraints; the fifth note of any scale always has the same relationship to the first note, because the alternating series of high and low pressures in the sound wave follow fixed and eternal rules, and those rules force it to function in that way. The beauty of Jazz is that it finds its freedom, its limitless expression of human experience, within the confines of that fixed structure.

What else can I say? That it is an incarnation of community? That it is a model of trinitarian theology, where three create as one, being separate, but being the same? That it is the music of the poor and the weak emphatically stating that freedom is their birthright? That if Bach and Mozart and Handel were alive today, they wouldn’t be at the Met, they’d be at the Village Vanguard?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.