Let the godly sing for joy to the Lord; it is fitting for the pure to praise him. Praise the Lord with melodies on the lyre; make music for him on the ten-stringed harp. Sing a new song of praise to him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy. Psalm 33: 1-3
Jazz as a Path to the Creator
John Coltrane’s commitment to experimentation and exploration, his cross-cultural interests, and his spirituality as much as his musicianship have made him a hero to me and many others. His work inspires the understanding that jazz music, at its core, is spiritual, even to those that don’t realize it. Consider, for a moment, the unifying power of jazz. Every culture embraces jazz and gives it its own spin. Musicians of all colors, races, religions, ages, and backgrounds, play music together and make it as ONE; just as the universe is ONE, and we are all part of that ONE.
We are excited to announce the release of Donnie Yance’s latest CD, Heaven Awaits, featuring nine original compositions, plus a special bonus song, Hope Alley, produced for Donnie by legendary musician and friend, Gino Vannelli.
Click here to see a video of Donnie and band members performing and hear about the inspiration behind this CD.
The Greek lyrical poet Archilochus said, “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” This quote suggests that the ability to succeed is not based on chance, nor can someone expect to succeed based solely on his or her innate abilities. Success instead is the result of training in a focused manner, so that when faced with a critical situation, a reaction occurs without conscious thought—essentially, it has become an instinctual response born of dedicated practice.
The saying can also be interpreted in a broader fashion, reflecting one’s ability to change and to “push the envelope,” as great jazz musicians do. Basketball, my favorite sport, shares some similarities in approach. The combination of talent and training, with some scripted aspects of play and the freedom for spontaneous improvisation is the ultimate in team synergy. When played in this way, basketball is beautiful. The unscripted nature of the game is similar to the improvisational nature of jazz, in which the notes are often unknown in advance, and rely on the combination of thought (intelligence) and feeling response (heart). Continue reading “Thoughts on Jazz and Healing”
As many of you know, I have been a lifelong musician. This summer I’ve had the pleasure of playing music with several professional musicians in the Rogue Valley, namely, my good friend and drummer, David Bolen. Having joined the “I Have A Dream” band for a special performance celebrating African American musicians at the Craterian Theatre in early 2016 under the direction of singer-songwriter, Doug Warner, I was beyond impressed by the caliber of musicianship. We all wanted to continue playing together, so I decided to bring the group together for a summer benefit concert for the Mederi Foundation.
In 1964, John Coltrane, often referred to as just “Trane,” revealed to the world his concept of spirituality in the form of what would soon be a world-renowned recording, “A Love Supreme.” Coltrane’s unique concept fused music and theology; he looked deep within himself, around himself, and to the heavens and the mystery of faith and religion.
Coltrane was on an unyielding quest for a closer relationship with God, and the manifestation of his quest was music virtually indescribable by the written word. I came across this essay, which speaks to the power of his music: “John Coltrane may be the only musician ever whose recordings would later be assigned the power of divination usually attributed to proto-jazz hymns and old time healers whose primal energy conjured spirits and laid souls bare.” (KARASLAMB, Revivalist Exclusive: Remembering John Coltrane On His 87th Birthday.)