I often refer to the Spiritual side of Jazz and in particular,.free Jazz,.no less than like a preacher on the pulpit.Some folks consider a spiritual perspective on music an excuse to just play wild and free with no real focus and or maybe no real skill.How much skill do you need to engage any music from a spiritual perspective? Which music is closer to God,.John Coltrane's Interstellar Space or somebody singing Amazing Grace down at the Church? I feel that the better I can reach my own ideas,.the more prepared I am for when the BIG feelings come,.regardless of how spiritual they may or may not be.I have watched my own music vary in very close relationship to how I'm FEELING at the time,.all though I sometimes have to check all that THINKING at the door.Jazz in 2010 is a real trip in that we actually have a few scientists,.and maybe even a few,.very few,..
Having recently seen the movie CONTACT
,.staring Jodie Foster,.I was struck by the war between science and religion through the whole film,.
I recently said to drummer Marc Edwards on Facebook of all places,..that the same portal Jodie went through,.is the one we open when we play music.(He agreed).The film touches on a very real conflict in perspective in 2 very different takes on what reality actually is.Religion and Science dominate a vast amount of people in the World as an effort to make sense of this reality and enable them to function.Religion uses fear and science uses the mind,.(to possibly attempt to control fear of the unknown),.holding up evidence as something holy.Of course,Governments get in between the 2 and make everything even worse trying to structure control the people.What does this have to do with Jazz musicians?
I'll go out on a limb and suggest that 2 of the greatest Jazz musicians of all time SOLVED the conflict that most of the world wrestles with today,by combining the best of both the Science and Religious worlds,while leaving behind the worst.One thing great Jazz musicians all have in common is that they are not AFRAID.John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman were not afraid to confront reality itself with their musics.They in fact challenged the reality of music itself at the time that they began their journey's into their own musical worlds,.because they seemingly had no other choice.They simply HAD to do what they did.
Check out Dr.Lewis Porter's transcriptions of Coltrane's work on Interstellar Space.Was Trane a scientist? No,.but his mastery of harmony and technical ability reached a level that was,.
A technical take on what Trane was doing would reveal an immensely personal language he spent years creating and had developed an almost impossible technique to achieve.He was doing things with sound,and utilizing harmony in such a way,.that it could,.to me,.be looked on no differently,.from a technical perspective,.than looking at the work of someone trying to CURE CANCER.He has to be the most advanced Jazz musician of all time in regards to harmony.
But Coltrane was not playing to reach the apex of technical,or scientific discovery,.he was trying to find a way deeper and deeper into the reality of himself,.and the reality of the reality that there are things in life beyond what we can see with our physical eyes,.and things we can only see with our soul eyes.I'm not a member of the Church that ordained him,.and I don't elevate him to being ABOVE us.Rather,.I believe that his journey shows that higher aspects of reality all ready exist in all of us.Maybe WE are God,.as some have suggested.
By taking his music to both technical (How I equate science into the equation),and spiritual extremes,.he was able to go WAY past what he would have been able to find had he chosen one,closed perspective.Was his journey worth it? Depends how open you are,.how afraid you are,and how willing you are to allow access into both those sides of yourself in order to evolve in both ways,.as a body and as a soul.Both perspectives call for a great deal of WORK.(Cue:the MONK song)
Ornette Coleman has a degree in Chemistry.As we all know,.he created a philosophy that changed Jazz forever called Harmelodics,.which has a PARTIALLY SCIENTIFIC FOUNDATION.There is big time music theory behind Harmelodics,.and OC will tell you he has mastered the world of chords,having spent his life researching them.In the same breath,.OC will tell you,.
The Soul is Eternal.."
A scientist might say that is something we tell ourselves so that we fear death a little less.A religion person might say that is a law of God.Ornette's gifts to the world have basis in both Science and a spirituality that may have some roots in the church.We are all better for it by stepping outside category,.and just being,.just playing.Duke himself always spoke of reaching beyond categories
Where is Trane now? Continuing his search? Look me up on the personal for further discussion here,.as some parts of life I'm only willing to speak about in person.What will music sound like in 5555? (anybody want to meet me there?)
I'm not against Science or religion if it indeed allows people to function in this world.If folks need it to focus on so that they can get out of bed in the morning,.so be it.For a scientist,.science is his music,.and for the religious folks,.religion may be there music.The trouble is all those LAWS and RULES both camps haul all over creation.Jazz musicians tend to BREAK rules,.don't we? I would suggest that human beings created JAZZ,.not God,.all though I cant prove it.Anyway,.
Religions all over the Earth have accepted God in some fashion as the basis of their existence,.the power of Faith.
Scientists want proof that God exists.They want someone to prove God exists.What if someone DID prove it to them?