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  1. #1

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    I've been listening to "A Love Supreme", which is a high benchmark for me in terms of authenticity, purity of intent, and prayerfulness expressed through improvisation.

    What is the place of spirituality in your playing? Where do you go in your head when you're improvising? Does your music have a spiritual imperative?

  2.  

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  3. #2
    (Original liner notes from A Love Supreme AS-77)


    DEAR LISTENER: ALL PRAISE BE TO GOD TO WHOM ALL PRAISE IS DUE. Let us pursue Him in the righteous path. Yes it is true; "seek and ye shall find." Only through Him can we know the most wondrous bequeathal.

    During the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music. I feel this has been granted through His grace. ALL PRAISE TO GOD.

    As time and events moved on, a period of irresolution did prevail. I entered into a phase which was contradictory to the pledge and away from the esteemed path; but thankfully, now and again through the unerring and merciful hand of God, I do perceive and have been duly re-informed of His OMNIPOTENCE, and of our need for, and dependence on Him. At this time I would like to tell you that NO MATTER WHAT ... IT IS WITH GOD. HE IS GRACIOUS AND MERCIFUL. HIS WAY IS IN LOVE, THROUGH WHICH WE ALL ARE. IT IS TRULY – A LOVE SUPREME – .

    This album is a humble offering to Him. An attempt to say "THANK YOU GOD" through our work, even as we do in our hearts and with our tongues. May He help and strengthen all men in every good endeavor.

    The music herein is presented in four parts. The first is entitled "ACKNOWLEDGEMENT", the second, "RESOLUTION", the third, "PURSUANCE", and the fourth and last part is a musical narration of the theme, "A LOVE SUPREME" which is written in the context; it is entitled "PSALM".

    In closing, I would like to thank the musicians who have contributed their much appreciated talents to the making of this album and all previous engagements.

    To Elvin, James and McCoy, I would like to thank you for that which you give each time you perform on your instruments. Also, to Archie Shepp (tenor saxist) and to Art Davis (bassist) who both recorded on a track that regrettably will not be released at this time; my deepest appreciation for your work in music past and present. In the near future,
    I hope that we will be able to further the work that was started here.

    Thanks to producer Bob Thiele; to recording engineer, Rudy Van Gelder; and the staff of ABC-Paramount records. Our appreciation and thanks to all people of good will and good works the world over, for in the bank of life is not good that investment which surely pays the highest and most cherished dividends.

    May we never forget that in the sunshine of our lives, through the storm and after the rain – it is all with God – in all ways and forever.

    ALL PRAISE TO GOD.

    With love to all, I thank you,

  4. #3

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    boyo---don't think this is gonna fly...kinda too bad

    maybe if

    everybody makes nice

    we could have such a discussion.

    wait, what am i saying, we can't even make nice about making nice around here...
    "Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we still are just able to endure, and we are are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us." -- Ranier Maria Rilke

  5. #4

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    I find that the only time in my day where I am truly at peace is either when I am playing the guitar or playing with cats. For me, music provides an inner joy that is beyond words, despite the inadequacy of my playing.

    This week, I am going to visit a friend who is a retired jazz musician (saxophonist) and flamenco guitarist. He has played the Main Stage at JazzFest here; he has played Royal Albert Hall with Paco (RIP). Now, he lives in a small, government subsided apartment (i.e., pubic housing for seniors). It is a tiny place, enough for a small side bedroom, and the main room has enough space for a small, couch, some chairs, a digital piano, a music stand, a saxophone, a clarinet, and a nylon string guitar, some family pictures and other decorations.

    Really, though, it is enough. Apart from human friendship and camaraderie, music provides enough emotional-spiritual sustenance to keep us satiated, inquisitive, inspired, and always learning, searching and probing.

    My friend used to play for many years with an outstanding local drummer named Hamid Drake, but lost touch with him. He thought Hamid had moved to New York. When I noticed that Hamid was playing with Peter Brötzmann at the Hideout, I told him about the gig and offered to drive him there.

    It was wonderful to see Hamid's face light up when they were reacquainted!

    That's what gives meaning to life: music and friendship.
    Navdeep Singh.

  6. #5

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    The start of what looks like an interesting thread.

    There are many people who believe that John Coltrane was lifted above the regular jazz music scene by divine inspiration. In fact, there is a church dedicated to this idea:

    http://www.coltranechurch.org/#!services/ch6q

    It started by worshiping John Coltrane, and then took up Orthodox ideas, joining the African Orthodox denomination. As one of their leaders put it, they demoted Coltrane from God to a saint.

    As for jazz, spirituality, and me, I very much believe in an active personal God. He is separate from the universe and from humans in the sense that "the creature is not the Creator." More immanent than transcendent, humans can know God. I feel constrained not to let anything, and that would include jazz, intrude on or replace that spirituality.
    Last edited by robertm2000; 03-23-2014 at 03:23 PM.

  7. #6

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    I don't log into fundamentalist religious sites and talk about Jazz guitar, Astronomy, Astrophotography, Physics, Maths, Wine, or Foreign Films. I don't do that because it is not appropriate to the theme of the site. There are many "Worship Music" sites; IMO, that's where this discussion belongs, but it's a free forum.

    To answer your questions:

    1. "Spirituality" has no place in my life, let alone in my playing.
    2. I go to my "Happy Place".
    3. Certainly not.
    "Talent is a pursued interest; anything that you're willing to practice, you can do." - Bob Ross

  8. #7

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    Here's one of the the definitions:

    Spiritual - 1. of, relating to, or affecting the human spirit, as opposed to material or physical things.

    From that perspective, it's somewhat hard to deny the spirituality of jazz and music as a musician or listener. On a further note, historically, it's hard to separate the influence of the early African American church experience from the origins of jazz. In the end, it's a personal observation as to whether an individual finds jazz spiritual. No point of turning it into a religious debate. Personally, I find improvising can sometimes be about as close to prayer as you can get.

  9. #8

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    @cosmic - good point; I was referring to the use of "spiritual" in the religious sense, as I think the OP is implying. IMO, the word has been co-opted by the religious folks. I find making music is a great deal of fun, and quite satisfying, no matter the style.
    Last edited by ah.clem; 03-23-2014 at 05:32 PM. Reason: Typo
    "Talent is a pursued interest; anything that you're willing to practice, you can do." - Bob Ross

  10. #9

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    I believe in the life, resurrection, and teachings of Christ, God is very much a part of my life as a panentheist, and I know what it is to be moved by the Holy Spirit. I have felt a very strong sense of the numinous while listening to a Bach fugue on organ or a Beethoven symphony. However, I don't really understand what it means to experience that "spirituality" while playing or listening to jazz. I have often felt like I was in a meditative state while practicing scales or improvising, but I don't think meditation, in my case and in any way, equates to prayer or spirituality. And besides, isn't a flat five interval demonically inspired?
    Last edited by zigzag; 03-23-2014 at 06:32 PM.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by zigzag View Post
    And besides, isn't a flat five interval demonically inspired?
    I doff my secular hat to your good wit, Sir!
    "Talent is a pursued interest; anything that you're willing to practice, you can do." - Bob Ross

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by ah.clem View Post
    @cosmic - good point; I was referring to the use of "spiritual" in the religious sense, as I think the OP is implying. IMO, the word has been co-opted by the religious folks. I find making music is a great deal of fun, and quite satisfying, no matter the style.
    I was referring to spirituality in a generalized way, not trying to push any particular religious agenda. I could have just as easily framed the question as "what is going on when you improvise"? And, "I go to my happy place", is as good an answer as any.

    People will argue about what Jazz is, but I think most would agree that at its core is improvisation, which is a idealistically a unique expression of self, in that moment, which may or may not be performed in the context of other's self expression. So, why improvise? Is it a function of the mind, body, or spirit of the individual, or all of the above? What is happening when the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts? Who is it for? John Coltrane found his answers but they don't have to be the same as anyone else's answers.

  13. #12

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    Wait...I thought Eric Clapton was God? Have I been misled?

  14. #13

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    @L4CESN - If that is the case, then I apologize for my assumption, but I do interpret the expression "prayerfulness expressed through improvisation" as having serious religious implications as I cannot conceive of prayer being divorced from a belief in a supernatural power, and the immediate, follow-up posting of the blatantly religious Coltrane diatribe seems pretty much, well, religious.
    "Talent is a pursued interest; anything that you're willing to practice, you can do." - Bob Ross

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by ah.clem View Post
    @L4CESN - If that is the case, then I apologize for my assumption, but I do interpret the expression "prayerfulness expressed through improvisation" as having serious religious implications as I cannot conceive of prayer being divorced from a belief in a supernatural power, and the immediate, follow-up posting of the blatantly religious Coltrane diatribe seems pretty much, well, religious.
    And in the case of John Coltrane, that may well be the case... although I don't know exactly what he believed. Coltrane was intended as just one example. In my understanding, spirituality and religion are not the same thing. Religion to me implies organisation and institutionalisation, which may or may not prescribe a set of beliefs and actions, and which may or may not be fundamentalist in nature. My use of the word spirituality was meant to be more all-encompassing term, and while it favours belief in a higher power, was not meant to exclude someone who interprets spirituality as meaning the human spirit. "I don't believe in prayer or a higher power" is a perfectly valid contribution to the thread. No apology is necessary. I'm not defending any position here. Thanks for engaging with my thread.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by ah.clem View Post
    @L4CESN - If that is the case, then I apologize for my assumption, but I do interpret the expression "prayerfulness expressed through improvisation" as having serious religious implications as I cannot conceive of prayer being divorced from a belief in a supernatural power, and the immediate, follow-up posting of the blatantly religious Coltrane diatribe seems pretty much, well, religious.

    what religion would that be?

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by ah.clem View Post
    @cosmic - good point; I was referring to the use of "spiritual" in the religious sense, as I think the OP is implying. IMO, the word has been co-opted by the religious folks. I find making music is a great deal of fun, and quite satisfying, no matter the style.

    This surprised me, especially the sentence, "IMO, the word [spiritual] has been co-opted by the religious folks." Mind you, I'm not saying the statement is wrong but only that it surprised me. And for this reason: it is so common nowadays to hear people say "I'm spiritual but not religious." Meaning, they find deep meaning life but want no part of organized religion. Indeed, some even argue that organized religion is the ruination of spirituality. I'm not suggesting that this view is correct but it is in wide circulation.

    In the old-fashioned sense (-which I tend to gravitate toward) "spiritual" means immaterial. That is, not material. For example, gold is material but friendship is immaterial, or spiritual. (Feigning friendship in hope of getting at someone else's gold might be called a materialistic motive at odds with the nature of true friendship.) Angels were long defined as "minds without bodies," meaning they were spiritual beings, but not necessarily the cute or cuddly, as cherubs in paintings sometimes are. God is usually understood (-even by those who deny the existence of any god) to have no body and thus be an entirely spiritual being. (Of course, some say no such beings can exist but even they expect people to understand what 'spiritual being' means so that they will understand what is being denied.)

    The great mathematician Pythagoras developed an esoteric philosophy of numbers, music, and astronomy. (For the ancients, music was to numbers as astronomy was to geometry.) I don't think that cult has any living adherents but it should be easy enough to see how someone could see numbers as spiritual: they have meaning but no physical existence. They somehow are and yet are immaterial. Hhmmm.....

    For many people, "spiritual" is the opposite of "materialistic" (in the sense of placing the pursuit or enjoyment of wealth above all else) thus playing jazz for love of the music rather than the hope of riches is by definition, an, um, non-materialistic pursuit. For many, "the things we do for love" are by definition not done for materialistic reasons and thus are in some sense spiritual, though many hesitate to use that term.

    Some people are wary of the term "spiritual" because it connotes, for them, organized religion, dogmatism, intolerance, or some such. It need not, but I think we all know that some people will hear the word that way and in an effort to avoid conversations beginning "what do you mean by that?" choose another term.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  18. #17

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    "Accepting our kinship with all life on Earth is not only solid science, in my view, it's also a soaring spiritual experience.: - Neil deGrasse Tyson
    Navdeep Singh.

  19. #18

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    Coltrane was basically a mystic - I wouldn't say he was religious, i.e. a 'company man' ( a card carrying Hindu, Christian etc.). Although mystic traditions usually exist/existed within the umbrella of an organised religion (eg. Sufism within Islam), hence the very religious sounding terms and symbolism in the Love Supreme liner notes - they can be considered distinct from mainstream religion, particularly by their emphasis on the disciplined cultivation of experiential states of consciousness over that of blind faith, as well as a more open, pluralistic attitude towards both spirituality and religion in general - a tendency to avoid focusing on dogma. It's also common for religious movements to grow out of a mystic movement such as that Church of Coltrane trip those dudes were on.

    Like many activities in life that 'put you in the moment', you could say jazz musicians are mystics in the best sense of the word - disciplined cultivators of conscious states of awareness through music. It doesn't mean flapping about like a new age fairy daydreaming and letting your imagination run loose, like bad hippy improv from the acid era.

    Now whether all these states of consciousness that people experience are due to only the firing of neurons in our brain, or some sort of divine life force, that's for the individual to decide - I'm staying away from making any public pronouncements on that one.

    Disclaimer: I'm not ascribing a value judgement on mysticism vs. religious faith in case someone thinks I'm dissing their faith/belief system, just pointing out the what I think to be the fundamental differences in the two approaches.

  20. #19

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    Stunning story Nav" says it all!....L...
    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ View Post
    I find that the only time in my day where I am truly at peace is either when I am playing the guitar or playing with cats. For me, music provides an inner joy that is beyond words, despite the inadequacy of my playing.

    This week, I am going to visit a friend who is a retired jazz musician (saxophonist) and flamenco guitarist. He has played the Main Stage at JazzFest here; he has played Royal Albert Hall with Paco (RIP). Now, he lives in a small, government subsided apartment (i.e., pubic housing for seniors). It is a tiny place, enough for a small side bedroom, and the main room has enough space for a small, couch, some chairs, a digital piano, a music stand, a saxophone, a clarinet, and a nylon string guitar, some family pictures and other decorations.

    Really, though, it is enough. Apart from human friendship and camaraderie, music provides enough emotional-spiritual sustenance to keep us satiated, inquisitive, inspired, and always learning, searching and probing.

    My friend used to play for many years with an outstanding local drummer named Hamid Drake, but lost touch with him. He thought Hamid had moved to New York. When I noticed that Hamid was playing with Peter Brötzmann at the Hideout, I told him about the gig and offered to drive him there.

    It was wonderful to see Hamid's face light up when they were reacquainted!

    That's what gives meaning to life: music and friendship.

  21. #20

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    @Fumble - that would be any any religion that presupposes an extra-powerful controlling force that can exert (or not, depending on it's whim) it's will on humans. Pretty much any belief that assumes an invisible "force" that is responsible for the creation, destruction, punishment, predestination, free-will, etc. of the world, the universe, the cosmos, the little children, etc. that comes with a complicated set of operating rules that are filled with exceptions.

    @Mark - when I lived in Hawaii, I definitely would have agreed with you, as folks had what they described as a "spiritual" connection with the land, but never really talked about their personal beliefs much. It just wasn't a topic for conversation in the local culture I was fortunate enough to be a part of and it didn't really matter a whole lot; the kind of person you were was much more important; how you comported yourself was how you were judged. Due to family obligations, I had no choice but to relocate to a part of the US where the first question I was repeatedly asked was "What church do I belong to?". Around here, spirituality equates to some form of christianity which is either directly (or indirectly), in your face (with no exaggeration, I can think of 6 billboards I pass on the way to and from the office every day, asking if I "know" jesus or if I'm going to heaven or hell, or is my soul secure, etc.). Just my/our experience, yours may certainly be different.
    "Talent is a pursued interest; anything that you're willing to practice, you can do." - Bob Ross

  22. #21

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    I think what L4CESN is talking about (because I think the concepts in the OP are very abstract) is our ability to access an area of our consciousness that is at the very essence of our being. Is that essence, that center, what we call our soul or our spirit? Is that center from where our conscious, and unconscious, being emanates? The very nature of that spirit is part of what religion attempts to address, and many believe that our bodies are simply a physical housing for a non-physical entity. If you accept the notion of a spirit or soul in those terms, you also accept the notion of a non-physical, non-empirical existence, which leads to an entirely different realm of possibilities.

    One of the functions of meditation (of which there are many forms) is to reach/access that center. What I get from the OP question is that L4CESN wants to know where our playing comes from. Are we able to access that center when we play (perhaps what some call playing more intuitively), or does our playing come from a purely intellectual place on the surface of our consciousness?
    Last edited by zigzag; 03-24-2014 at 03:10 PM.

  23. #22

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    I see music as a purely secular activity but that is because I am not a religious person (far from it) It does however move me to different levels of consciousness but that to me has nothing to do with any religion or any belief in a god(s).

  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by zigzag View Post
    I think what L4CESN is talking about (because I think the concepts in the OP are very abstract) is our ability to access an area of our consciousness that is at the very essence of our being. Is that essence, that center, what we call our soul or our spirit? Is that center from where our conscious, and unconscious, being emanates? The very nature of that spirit is part of what religion attempts to address, and many believe that our bodies are simply a physical housing for a non-physical entity. If you accept the notion of a spirit or soul in those terms, you also accept the notion of a non-physical, non-empirical existence, which leads to an entirely different realm of possibilities. One of the functions of meditation (of which there are many forms) is to reach/access that center. What I get from the OP question is that L4CESN wants to know where our playing comes from. Are we able to access that center when we play (perhaps what some call playing more intuitively), or does our playing come from a purely intellectual place on the surface of our consciousness?
    Well said.

  25. #24

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    I think it helps to suggest that if one wants----for the sake of casual conversation among friends----to divide things between the material and the spiritual, anything emotional will be housed on the material side.

    (Many people exhibit strong emotions during sexual acts but a life devoted to the pleasures of the flesh is normally considered the antithesis of a spiritual life.)

    In a very strong sense (--and I always draw dark looks when I say this) when one refers to an emotional experience as "spiritual" one is confused. Unless by "spiritual" one simply means an emotional, perhaps very emotional, experience. This use could develop in those who grew up attending churches whose music stressed hymns known as "spirituals" whose emotional impact was strong. Many early rock and soul musicians grew up in such churches, learned music in them, and thereby forged a lifelong association of intense emotion and spirituality.


    I think it possible to be a deeply spiritual person but not think of one's playing as spiritual at all. It is also possible to have a passion for music that seems in no way spiritual (-however defined) to the person who "suffers" the passion.

    Aside from the times I've performed music in churches---or played on my own gospel songs such as "Amazing Grace" that move me---I don't think of spiritual matters while playing or think of my playing as spiritual. However, when I'm not playing, I spend a fair amount of time with Aquinas and with Aristotle. That I find spiritually enriching.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by ah.clem View Post
    @Fumble - that would be any any religion that presupposes an extra-powerful controlling force that can exert (or not, depending on it's whim) it's will on humans. Pretty much any belief that assumes an invisible "force" that is responsible for the creation, destruction, punishment, predestination, free-will, etc. of the world, the universe, the cosmos, the little children, etc. that comes with a complicated set of operating rules that are filled with exceptions.

    @Mark - when I lived in Hawaii, I definitely would have agreed with you, as folks had what they described as a "spiritual" connection with the land, but never really talked about their personal beliefs much. It just wasn't a topic for conversation in the local culture I was fortunate enough to be a part of and it didn't really matter a whole lot; the kind of person you were was much more important; how you comported yourself was how you were judged. Due to family obligations, I had no choice but to relocate to a part of the US where the first question I was repeatedly asked was "What church do I belong to?". Around here, spirituality equates to some form of christianity which is either directly (or indirectly), in your face (with no exaggeration, I can think of 6 billboards I pass on the way to and from the office every day, asking if I "know" jesus or if I'm going to heaven or hell, or is my soul secure, etc.). Just my/our experience, yours may certainly be different.

    well Coltrane's liner notes were not an example of a "diatribe", as you termed it. there was no anger or complaining in his words, only peace, love, humility and gratitude as far as i could tell.

    FYI - there are many people who are not religious, and yet are not atheists.
    Last edited by fumblefingers; 03-25-2014 at 02:22 PM.

  27. #26

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    Dang Mark, those are good points. Emotion. I would say that love is spiritual. Bliss is spiritual. I would say that hate is temporal. Lust is, no doubt, temporal since it is a purely physical emotion. Excess is temporal. Suffering is temporal. So, I think emotion can be spiritual or temporal depending on its motive.

    I think that our definitions tend to be influenced by our Judeo-Christian culture where we think in dualities- good/evil, spiritual/secular, etc. In Buddhist and Chinese thought, there is yin and yang, which is not really dualities or oppositions within a whole as much as a balance of complementary forces within a whole.

    Great stuff.
    Last edited by zigzag; 03-25-2014 at 12:35 AM.

  28. #27

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    Does anyone else see the irony of this discussion about music that originated in whorehouses?

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Does anyone else see the irony of this discussion about music that originated in whorehouses?
    I was thinking of that when I considered the "devil's note."

    Fitting that Storyville is in New Orleans.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Does anyone else see the irony of this discussion about music that originated in whorehouses?
    Well from it's origins, jazz clearly has a shadow side - many of the early great practitioners were coming from the seedier side of life, such as Jelly Roll Morton and Sidney Bechet. We've all read jazz biographies about Bird, Billie Holiday, Art Pepper etc. that portray that dichotomy inherent to jazz where these people are self-destructive on one level, and totally with-it when it comes to going into that zone where transcendence and beauty occur.

    I find a parallel with these artists and the tradition of some forms of tantra found in Hinduism and Buddhism. How 'enlightenment' (a loaded term if ever there was one) could be found in all aspects of reality, including things such as sex and taking intoxicants - it's for good reason that many of these practices were considered dangerous for the uninitiated and kept secret so as not to be confused with base hedonism.

    So yeah, crazy mofo as Bird was, in some ways he was a bit of a tantric yogi (you could say a flawed one). Kids don't try this at home.

    Those liner notes of Coltrane are sort of the point in jazz where there's a break in that tradition away from it's hedonistic past, where he was striving towards a more traditional form of mystic truth. He said in an interview that he aspired to be a saint. After being a junkie and seeing the danger in that, you can see how he chose instead to get high off his own brain chemicals by fixating on a meditative approach to improv mixed with spiritual symbolism.
    Last edited by 3625; 03-25-2014 at 10:09 PM.

  31. #30

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    @Fumble - yes, you are correct in pointing out my mis-use of the word "diatribe"; I try to use words accurately but in this case I was feeling a bit more emotional and responded quickly, without really considering my words. Thesis might have fit but I rejected it as there was nothing to defend or reject (it's a statement of personal belief that borders on a personal witness, in my opinion); skreed fits, but I don't care for the word. I should just have called them liner-notes and left it at that.

    I am aware of the multitude of positions one can take regarding this subject; it just happens to be a "hot button" topic for me. Having to threaten to call the police to get proselytizers to leave my porch after politely telling them for weeks that I had no interest in their "Good News", having this same group of people standing in the road outside my house, praying for my "enlightenment" and "spiritual re-birth", having both local NPR feeds totally crushed by low-power FM "Christian Radio" (which the FCC says is completely legal), etc. has got me on a short tether when it comes to discussions of faith and spirituality.

    Sometimes I think I should just nail a mezuzah to my door and be done with it, but all this is just my cross to bear (and that's all the Bill Maher you'll be getting out of me!).
    "Talent is a pursued interest; anything that you're willing to practice, you can do." - Bob Ross

  32. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by 3625 View Post
    Well from it's origins, jazz clearly has a shadow side - many of the early great practitioners were coming from the seedier side of life, such as Jelly Roll Morton and Sidney Bechet. We've all read jazz biographies about Bird, Billie Holiday, Art Pepper etc. that portray that dichotomy inherent to jazz where these people are self-destructive on one level, and totally with-it when it comes to going into that zone where transcendence and beauty occur.
    I sometimes wonder if this is a function of personality type, brilliance hand-in-hand with self-destructive behaviour (and an early death). Jim Carrey hit on something commenting on Philip Seymour Hoffman's death: "Dear Philip, a beautiful beautiful soul. For the most sensitive among us the noise can be too much. Bless your heart." The same sensitivity that is attuned to transcendence and beauty, at times needs to be drowned out, because it's also attuned to all that is not beautiful. Brilliant people aren't often just one thing. In that sense, it's not ironic at all that jazz would begin in whore-houses, in fact it's kind of poetic. I don't believe spirituality and morality to be the same thing.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by ah.clem View Post
    @Fumble - yes, you are correct in pointing out my mis-use of the word "diatribe"; I try to use words accurately but in this case I was feeling a bit more emotional and responded quickly, without really considering my words. Thesis might have fit but I rejected it as there was nothing to defend or reject (it's a statement of personal belief that borders on a personal witness, in my opinion); skreed fits, but I don't care for the word. I should just have called them liner-notes and left it at that.

    I am aware of the multitude of positions one can take regarding this subject; it just happens to be a "hot button" topic for me. Having to threaten to call the police to get proselytizers to leave my porch after politely telling them for weeks that I had no interest in their "Good News", having this same group of people standing in the road outside my house, praying for my "enlightenment" and "spiritual re-birth", having both local NPR feeds totally crushed by low-power FM "Christian Radio" (which the FCC says is completely legal), etc. has got me on a short tether when it comes to discussions of faith and spirituality.

    Sometimes I think I should just nail a mezuzah to my door and be done with it, but all this is just my cross to bear (and that's all the Bill Maher you'll be getting out of me!).

    ouch. well i would just tell you to move but that would be a flip response, and no doubt easier said than done. sending you a PM too.

  34. #33

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    The closest I ever come to having a "spiritual" experience is finding myself inside of a well-tuned chord. An open-voiced major triad (could be any inversion, with or without octave doubles) that lingers long enough for me to just "sit" inside will often do the trick but there are other chords and intervals that also give me a sense of something transcendent and universal and that there is something "right" with the world (or maybe beyond the world. I know, it's probably just physics... )

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Does anyone else see the irony of this discussion about music that originated in whorehouses?
    Don't be too harsh Cos" Think of the "Tart with a heart"......

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasaco View Post
    The closest I ever come to having a "spiritual" experience is finding myself inside of a well-tuned chord. An open-voiced major triad (could be any inversion, with or without octave doubles) that lingers long enough for me to just "sit" inside will often do the trick but there are other chords and intervals that also give me a sense of something transcendent and universal and that there is something "right" with the world (or maybe beyond the world. I know, it's probably just physics... )
    Sounds like a Frisellian slip, there. When it's so right, let it ring out and saturate the air and fill the space for a while.
    Navdeep Singh.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Does anyone else see the irony of this discussion about music that originated in whorehouses?
    allegory of the lotus...
    "Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we still are just able to endure, and we are are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us." -- Ranier Maria Rilke

  38. #37

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    Pretty sure music IS my religion.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Pretty sure music IS my religion.
    Yes, exactly!!!

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Pretty sure music IS my religion.
    Somebody quoting Charlie Parker?
    Navdeep Singh.

  41. #40

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    Hey 3625,
    Please keep your profanity off this forum.
    Thank you.
    -Alastair

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alastair View Post
    Hey 3625,
    Please keep your profanity off this forum.
    Thank you.
    -Alastair
    I think if you use the search function for various words that you consider "profane", you will see that, as adults, we actually use them quite often at times to make a point. I think if someone is over the top about anything, the mods will take care of it. If you consider something to be inappropriate, flag it with your reason, but please do not try to censor an individual or a thread just because you are personally offended. Just my opinion.
    Last edited by ah.clem; 03-25-2014 at 11:55 AM. Reason: Puncuation
    "Talent is a pursued interest; anything that you're willing to practice, you can do." - Bob Ross

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alastair View Post
    Hey 3625,
    Please keep your profanity off this forum.
    Thank you.
    -Alastair
    Errr is there an edited post here somewhere? I seemed to have missed the profanity.

  44. #43

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    Ah ok never mind. I now see the mf comment. I'm not offended but can understand that someone may be. At the same time, I think the term mf is a frequently used way of addressing someone in the jazz world. Just read Miles Davis' biography and you'll see what I mean. :-)

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by zigzag View Post
    Dang Mark, those are good points. Emotion. I would say that love is spiritual. Bliss is spiritual. I would say that hate is temporal. Lust is, no doubt, temporal since it is a purely physical emotion. Excess is temporal. Suffering is temporal. So, I think emotion can be spiritual or temporal depending on its motive.

    I think that our definitions tend to be influenced by our Judeo-Christian culture where we think in dualities- good/evil, spiritual/secular, etc. In Buddhist and Chinese thought, there is yin and yang, which is not really dualities or oppositions within a whole as much as a balance of complementary forces within a whole.

    Great stuff.
    Thanks. "Love" is a curious term here. An old definition of love is "to will the good of another." More recently, "love" has a stronger emotional connotation. I think the contrast is most clearly seen (-whether one believes in God or not) in the phrase "God is love." That's an ancient expression. The people who made it first did not think God had a body, and having no body, they did not think he would have emotions as humans (and other animals) do. God's love was understood as a matter of will, which was a power of the intellect. But for many moderns, "God is love" means something more like 'God is passionate' and the 'voice of God' comes in the form of a strong desire. It is quite possible for two people to nod in agreement at the phrase "God is love" and understand it in radically different ways.

    As for dualities, I think some are sound: the one and the many; same and other; necessity and contingency; universal and particular; day and night; material and immaterial; virtue and vice. (Many of these dualities appear in the writings of thinkers neither Jewish nor Christian.) Parmenides divided the world into being and non-being, and since non-being was, well, nothing, he argued that change is impossible. (What appears as change to us is but an illusion.) The flip side of this error was made by Heraclitus (-of 'all things are in flux' fame.) I think Aristotle was the first human being to offer a convincing explanation of how change is possible and what it means. Much of Aristotle's legacy may now be thought of "Judeo-Christian" but he was neither.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ View Post
    Somebody quoting Charlie Parker?
    Ha! Great pick up. But, I usually try to "quote" Bird in many of my improvs. Currently, it's "Scrapple".
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  47. #46

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    [QUOTE=ah.clem;410573]I think if you use the search function for various words that you consider "profane", you will see that, as adults, we actually use them quite often at times to make a point. I think if someone is over the top about anything, the mods will take care of it. If you consider something to be inappropriate, flag it with your reason, but please do not try to censor an individual or a thread just because you are personally offended.

    Just my opinion.
    Not at all just your opinion . . it's mine too. Thanks for saying it.
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    Much of Aristotle's legacy may now be thought of "Judeo-Christian" but he was neither.
    Interesting how Christian philosophers incorporated ancient Greek philosophy into their own. No matter how much we may consciously reject Christianity, Judeo-Christian/Western influences are engrained our culture. They are inescapable.

    As for love: “Happy," I muttered, trying to pin the word down. But it is one of those words, like Love, that I have never quite understood. Most people who deal in words don’t have much faith in them and I am no exception – especially the big ones like Happy and Love and Honest and Strong. They are too elusive and far too relative when you compare them to sharp, mean little words like Punk and Cheap and Phony. I feel at home with these, because they’re scrawny and easy to pin, but the big ones are tough and it takes either a priest or a fool to use them with any confidence.”
    Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary
    Last edited by zigzag; 03-26-2014 at 08:11 AM.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlainJazz View Post
    Ah ok never mind. I now see the mf comment. I'm not offended but can understand that someone may be. At the same time, I think the term mf is a frequently used way of addressing someone in the jazz world. Just read Miles Davis' biography and you'll see what I mean. :-)
    Well put - I did use it in context... the unification of the duality between sacred and profane which was the theme of the post in question. But I just edited it from the original to mofo - as my intent isn't to offend. Yeah the Miles bio - exactly!

  50. #49

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    I couldn't put the Miles autobiography down. I recommend it highly (puns intended).
    Last edited by zigzag; 03-26-2014 at 08:42 AM.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by zigzag View Post
    Interesting how Christian philosophers incorporated ancient Greek philosophy into their own. No matter how much we may consciously reject Christianity, Judeo-Christian/Western influences are engrained our culture. They are inescapable.

    As for love: “Happy," I muttered, trying to pin the word down. But it is one of those words, like Love, that I have never quite understood. Most people who deal in words don’t have much faith in them and I am no exception – especially the big ones like Happy and Love and Honest and Strong. They are too elusive and far too relative when you compare them to sharp, mean little words like Punk and Cheap and Phony. I feel at home with these, because they’re scrawny and easy to pin, but the big ones are tough and it takes either a priest or a fool to use them with any confidence.”
    Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary
    Aristotle's case is interesting in this respect because much of his writing was lost for a time. It was Arabic (-Muslim) thinkers whose translations of Aristotle into Latin brought him to the attention of many medieval monks (-and other Christian thinkers) and thereby to moderns in the West. Plato was a far greater influence on early Christians. I don't know how much attention contemporary Muslim philosophers give to Aristotle's work. In his case, I think he was right about many important things and that his influence is largely a positive one. Take the term "happiness," which you use later. I think Aristotle was particularly enlightening on that subject. He wasn't the only ancient to take it up----"call no man happy until he has died" has been attributed to a few Greek thinkers (perhaps most often to Aeschylus).

    There is an irony in that some abstract terms are quite easy to understand but so hard to imagine, we may feel that we don't understand them because we so often associate understanding with imagination (-or something we can picture.) I think "happiness" as defined by Aristotle is easier to understand than "punk" as used by Hunter Thompson. (I do love the song "Garbageman" by The Cramps, which begins, "You ain't no punk, you punk!")
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola