Gospel Jazz portrays the precise passion of perfectly inspired innovation and unity.
One of the purest forms of true music emanates from the depth and improvisation
of its own composers, writers, producers, and performers.
– In Summary
We're fortunate to live in a profound time in history when God's plan for His
beloved people has transcended time, man-made stereotypes, and human
paradigms ─ full-circle from where the original message of His Word was
proclaimed but has remained true all the same for centuries. God in His
sovereignty uses what and chooses whom He wishes to fulfill His ultimate will.
He fulfills this regardless of what the status quo believes, thinks, or feels.
Through willing Levites and anointed messengers of song, the genre of
"Gospel-Jazz" music is becoming more and more popular every day. This wealth
of music still spreads the "good news" of the gospel. Whether it's through saxophone, trumpet, guitar, bass, drums, piano, or organ, you'll be sure to hear the best in
Gospel-Jazz from the best Gospel and Jazz musicians in the world. Don't ever
underestimate the quality, quantity, or quintessential impact of this music on
the popular climate of today or its influence on the culture of the future.
History has shown us that over the span of time, music has been a major driver
as well as a sympathetic responder to the cultural climate both in the secular
world and the sacred. Music is not just an art form, but an experience for the
moment and one to relive time and time again in the memories of the soul and spirit. Therefore, now is the time of our personal responsibility to allow and inspire the gift of Gospel Jazz to thrive and to bear the ordained contributable fruits within the
arts and among the hearts of those living now and also those who are to come.
"The precious gems of Jazz and Gospel as separate musical art forms have been
around for a very long time and both are profoundly rooted in the rich heritage of the African-American cultural experience." So then what should be said about the even newer, "unique" "Gospel Jazz?" From every aspect of music, Gospel Jazz portrays the very
passion of perfectly inspired innovation and unity. There is no disagreement or
argument in this relationship as their nature and musical complexity work together
in perfect harmony, rhythm, melody, creativity, style, form, drive, emotion, spirituality, excitement, tenderness, vision, mystique, and inspiration.
Gospel Jazz is and can be one of the purest forms of true music which emanates
from the depth and improvisation of its own composers, writers, producers
and performers. It is so pure and potent that it can carry the message of a song instrumentally without the lyrics of a vocalist and yet communicate the
instrumentation of a life-changing song vocally without the accompaniment
of instruments--it is spiritual and ministry at its least and worship and praise at its best.
Gospel Jazz is one of the newest and hottest genres of musical genius with
increasing popularity and acceptance within the Christian community, but also
generating wide appeal within the secular world of musical entertainment.
Although there has been major progress over recent years to unveil to the world
both styles and their unlimited techniques and distinctive articulations through
the amazing performances and recordings of artists, there still lacks a true level "playing field" for commercial acceptance and equality in the market place. Mainstream
appreciation, support, and respect for these music giants are all too often missing
from the industry headlines of the day ─ nevertheless, hope still prevails.
In a world full of political ambiguity, terrorism, economic uncertainty, and a myriad
of other severe dilemmas, it's imperative to strive to maintain balance. Learn to
draw a sense of peace and strength from the incredible creativity and artistic
diversity that lies deep within us. Today's "breaking news" tends to usher us into places of deep despair and diminishes our focus a few notches both emotionally and spiritually.
It's at that spiritual level of one's self that consistent nurturing and involvement allows and compels us to keep moving forward. We maintain a disposition of joy and tranquility on this difficult but certain journey of promise.
God has so infinitely gifted us in unique ways that all of us can play an individual
part in the sustenance of the human spirit, even sometimes in methods and by way of resources we've ignored, rejected, or have failed to engage or experience.
Gospel Jazz brings together two of the most precious of these artistic riches
implanted within the fertile hearts and minds of many gifted artists and musicians,
several of which are awaiting the opportunity when they and their music will be
discovered and presented to the world.
Gospel Jazz might be thought of as a brand new form of music in some circles
these days, but honestly as with all things, "there is nothing new under the sun.
"The origins of Gospel Jazz are as familiar as any other form of musical expression.
Just as the separate styles of Gospel and Jazz were born out of the deep emotional experiences endured and overcome by our fore-parents and ancestors, Gospel Jazz has always been around. Early ancestral forms as key as Negro Spirituals born in the
slave-tended fields of the South gave birth to the heart-wrenching cries of Jazz
siblings such as the "Blues."
Another profound effect of the instrumental side of Gospel Jazz, which has been
affirmed over and over again by contemporary genre lovers, is its ability to inspire
a sense of peace as a soothing balm to both mental and physical stress. This benefit is supported biblically as noted in I Samuel 16:23, as David played his harp for Saul.
Gospel Jazz artist and modern-day pioneer Jeff Majors fulfills this calling in
contemporary fashion with his internationally enjoyed harp ministry. There are
also many other great Gospel Jazz Pioneers and contributors to this genre as a
legitimate form ─ familiar musicians and vocal artists that have forged the way
and bridged the gap for the exposure and improved acceptance among
Christian and secular audiences alike. Some of the most well-known but not always associated artists and influences of the Gospel Jazz realm include such musical
giants as Ramsey Lewis, Aretha Franklin, Thomas Whitfield, The Clark Sisters,
Daryl Coley, Take 6, Ben Tankard, Yolanda Adams, Allen & Allen, Kirk Whalum,
Jeff Majors, Kim Burrell, and the list goes on.
Gospel Jazz is not just instrumental but includes a whole host of vocal expressionists
and stylists, and in some ways represents some of the most essential contributions
to the music industry and history as a whole.
There exists a whole other "flip side" to this entire Jazz genre thing that is not only worth mentioning but serves as a profound voice of how Jazz and Gospel are so inter-related in spirit and message. One of the most significant aspects of today's Jazz world is the number of professing Christians and notable genre contributors who perform as major Jazz artists, true to the form musically, but who are just as true to their calling to dedicate their lives and musical talents wholly or in part, respectively, to the cause of the Gospel through recorded and live Gospel Jazz works and performances.
Familiar names such as Jonathan Butler, John Patitucci, Kirk Whalum, and many others are well known as both top-notch Jazz artists and fervent believers. Some critics might label them as sell-outs to a type of secularism contradicting Christian principles and teachings. But the truth is Jazz is musical art, just as relevant as Classical, Gospel, Latin, African, Chinese, Japanese, or any other style of music which has its heart rooted in experiential passion and cultural diversity.
But I will go one step further to say that the improvisational element of both Jazz and Gospel render them the most precise conduits for rendering the kind of spontaneous praise to God referenced in Psalm 150. There is also a breaking down of language barriers which allows Christian Jazz artists and musicians like no other messengers sent by God to reach those in that community who have not yet come to a point of belief in Christ.
Who better to minister to the lost in the world of Jazz than those who speak the vernacular understood by those listeners? Also, what truer testimony than a vessel created by God to give back to Him the gift of music received in a style that He alone has created and established for His own good pleasure and glory?
I recently had a rather eye-opening encounter while performing at a Gospel Jazz event at a local church--yes; I said "church." The audience comprised of regular "church folk" upon hearing the ministry of Gospel Jazz suddenly displayed a wide-variety of emotions through their thunderous applause and shouts, sways and dances, tears of joy, and sheer awareness of just how awesome God really is.
The music's testimony transcended the man-made boundaries and paradigms which until that moment had been the teachers and guides within the minds and hearts of those attending. Their preconceptions were all redefined by the experience of what they had heard, felt and lived for that moment in time. They couldn't explain what had happened before them, to them or inside them, but could only describe aspects of what they had come to know as something more than just a concert.
It was more like a revelation of God as He chose to use vessels and instruments as available means to communicate on a soulful, spirit-filled level. It was at this moment that I realized and God confirmed the remarkable gift and opportunity He imparted to me and to all Gospel Jazz artists. This wasn't just a chance to play or sing great music, entertain or have fun, but it had swiftly become a serious matter--a personal responsibility for encouraging hearts and inspiring souls to reach new heights with understanding and connect with Christ and each other in a brand new way. Words of humility were the only appropriate response I could utter.