Last night I had the wonderful opportunity to hear a combined lecture and performance on the sacred and secular dimensions of jazz music. This lecture/presentation was part of a conference on black religion and spirituality. The speaker illustrated the musical commonalities between jazz and gospel music with his jazz orchestra, and it was quite a transformative two hours.
Although I had made some great connections at the conference, I was glad that I was sitting by myself because when it comes to music I am on a totally different level. All around me people where bobbing their heads to the music. The orchestra played a variety of songs from Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday” to Jerome Richardson’s “Groove Merchant,” which was my favorite of the bunch.
Now, back to why I was glad that I was sitting solo… As I’ve made it clear, I’m a music fanatic. Unlike anything else music touches me to my core. Thus, I couldn’t help tearing up at least 6 or 7 times during the 2-hour presentation. I was trying to be discreet about it, but those improvs would get me every time.
What took the cake was the dramatic bass solo in Ellington’s “Come Sunday.” The way the bassist played his brief solo was spiritually transcendent and otherworldly. As his fingers were walking up and down that bass, the instrument was talking to me.
This speaks to the mastermind that the Duke was, as the greatest American composer of all time. But beyond composition, the execution by the artist was amazingly soulful and deep.
As it’s said, you had to be there to feel what I’m describing. It was a uniquely transcendent experience that took me by surprise, reinvigorating me to make more wonderful b&b goodies, and to get down to business more generally.
Wishing everyone a happy, uplifting weekend!
The Groove Merchant: