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    Callins- Winds of Change-It may be one of the coolest records I've ever listened to-- he had a late history with Sun Ra, but this, his sole solo release as far as I know, is just the right mix of out there and accessible. The percussion and bass are extraordinary--
    lasercd flagged this one for me a while ago. I finally got a nice copy. Cecil McBee, who is turning out to be one of my favorite bassists in this later jazz era, appears on the album.

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    The Boykins sounds almost out of tune- he also had history with Sun Ra-
    strangely cool, not the equal of the Callins record but fascinating in its own right. This is the record i 'missed' at the opening gate of the Austin Record Show this year, but managed to find a nice copy via the Internet.

  • #2
    Bill, excuse my ignorance, but what is spiritual jazz? Jazz influenced but spiritual church music?


    • #3
      Originally posted by jonathanhorwich View Post
      Bill, excuse my ignorance, but what is spiritual jazz? Jazz influenced but spiritual church music?
      Jonathan- I'll give you my understanding, which Ken can probably supplement. Most of it traces back to Coltrane's A Love Supreme, at least as claims of influence are concerned. As the mainstream jazz audience died off in the late '60s, when rock and pop displaced jazz as a commercially viable form of popular music, a number of very seasoned players-- who could not get signed to major labels anymore--turned to smaller collective enterprises that were fueled by the rise in black self-identity, the rediscovery of African roots and avant-garde influences that merged other genres that were less traditional to jazz--think about Marchin' On, which I think you recognized as a great album on Strata-East on another thread. The Heath Brothers were consummate players--Percy was with the Modern Jazz Quartet, among other notable bands, but their album, particularly side 2, starts with an almost classical motif- bowed bass, and then the woodwinds come in.
      The compositions are not straight ahead but they aren't completely "out there" either- more meditative, and take advantage of polyrhythms characteristic of African music as well as Eastern motifs. Most of this stuff is very non-commercial, which is what makes it interesting- taking a variety of jazz forms and putting them in a blender to create new sounds-- a sort of jazz answer to the post-psych age. On an intellectual level, it is the quest for transcendence, expressed in a variety of styles, but it doesn't conform to traditional jazz norms. If you listen to Herbie Hancock's Crossings, which was my introduction in some ways, virtually every phrase, sound and stylization is recognizable, but it is turned upside down-- and in the process, the norms or straightjackets of convention, and recognized jazz genres are left far behind in the pursuit of a new music that coincided with the emergence of the 'Black Power" movement, the localization of talent in communities from Detroit, LA and NY who worked together in various collectives and overlap as performers on each other's records.
      The end of side one of Roy Brooks' Free Slave has a clanging dissonant metallic bashing sound that signals the end of the song- something you wouldn't hear in straight ahead or modal or cool jazz. Gil Scott Heron sort of fits in, at least with his Winter in America, which was released on Strata-East- a gorgeous blend of spoken word poetry (precursor to rap) and funky Rhodes piano. Cecil McBee, who appears on a lot of these albums, did a solo release-Mutima- which starts with double stops on bowed bass- the best way I can describe it is Janos Starker on acid.
      To me, it's a wide open description for an almost underground form of jazz that emerged in the early '70s that was inventive and mixed eastern and western influences, played by some pretty serious musicians who did not conform to the norms of past jazz conventions. That period was probably the most prolific, and the albums-- many of them small labels and limited runs-- are now considered highly influential to new generations of listeners and players. There's also something about the obscurity of them that's cool- you'll find albums with these killer players that most people-- even those familiar with jazz conventions of other periods- aren't familiar with.
      lasercd Let's see how Ken would define this....


      • #4
        Thanks. I kinda get it. Although I'm quite familiar with the situations and (African and Eastern) influences you describe, Ive never heard the term "spiritual jazz" as a kind of genre or sub-genre. Obviously some of the avant movement played jazz with a spiritual tint or even core to it such as Coltrane and his followers or the Art Ensemble of Chicago, However, I didn't realize there was an official term for it. I doubt most people will know what it really means or refers to other than the obvious "Love Supreme" which is very spiritual in nature. I may have missed a specific sub-genre here in jazz so excuse me if I did. I've just never heard "spiritual jazz" as a codified term, especially in relation to the avant-garde movement. I have heard plenty of spiritual jazz (both avant and non-avant) that fits that term if used generically and descriptively such as Coltrane's Love Supreme, Haden's Steal Away (gorgeous), Donald Byrd's New Perspective, and so on. For me spiritual jazz describes various performances in jazz from all over the map, not just black, avant jazz from the 60's onward. I may be missing something.


        • #5
          Jonathan I think Bill gave pretty good interpretation of what spiritual jazz is and I think you get it. Its one of those “I’m not sure what it is but I know it when I hear it” kind of a thing.

          My non-musician interpretation of “spiritual jazz” is jazz that has a strong cultural/ethnic/religious influence, sometimes with a “cosmic” attitude. Labels often associated with spiritual jazz are Strata East, Tribe, Nimbus West, and Black Jazz.

          Spiritual jazz has its roots in the avant garde. John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme may well be ground zero for spiritual jazz. Coltrane and the musicians that played with him all explored jazz with a spiritual theme. What could be more spiritual than Pharaoh Sander’s “The Creator Has A Master Plan”? Alice Coltrane infused Indian scales into her cosmic themed jazz. And so on…

          Going a bit off tangent - the important over-arching concept that spiritual jazz is a subgenre of is called “Kozmigroov”. Its an important coalition of various aspects of jazz (sometimes incorporating rock elements). Prime example would be Herbie Hancoock’s Mwandishi collective. The band was fully plugged in, with Hancock playing electric keyboards. The music and concept was an exploration of his Afro-centric origins.

          I believe it was Doug Watson who defined the term as follows:

          “Kozmigroov* is a transgressive improvisational music which combines elements of psychedelia, spirituality, jazz, rock, soul, funk, and African, Latin, Brazillian, Indian and Asian influences culminating into an all encompassing cosmic groove. At its most accomplished, Kozmigroov is both expansive and highly rhythmic, and simultaneously finds connections with the mind, soul and body.
          Examples span:
          · from the intergalactic electronic offerings of Sun Ra (arguably, the Godfather of Kozmigroov)
          · to the spacejazz of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew and Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi, Crossings, Sextet
          · to the transcendental jazz of Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders
          · to the spiritual Afro-centric soul declarations found on the Impulse!, Strata East, BlackJazz and Tribe labels
          · to the dense apocalyptic jazz-rock of the Tony Williams Lifetime, Miles' Dark Magus/Agharta/Pangaea axis, and the Last Exit quartet
          · to the cosmic funk of Herbie Hancock, The Headhunters, Lonnie Liston Smith, and Charles Earland
          · to the European progressive refractions captured on the MPS and ECM imprints
          · to the Asian amalgams of Terumasa Hino, Masabumi Kikuchi and Shunzo Ohno
          · to the pan-global fusions explored by Don Cherry, Jon Hassell and Charlie Mariano
          · to the jagged free funk of Ornette Coleman's original Prime Time and its harmolodic alumni (Ronald Shannon Jackson, James Blood Ulmer)
          · to a host of recent Nu-Jazz revisionary sides including Erik Truffaz, Kirk DeGiorgio, Ashley Beadle, and The Cinematic Orchestra”

          This is copped from which is a great source for kozmigroov music.

          Spiritual jazz is most often associated with black musicians but it is not purely their domain. Heikki Sarmanto, the talented Finnish keyboardist, composed the “New Hope Jazz Mass”. Terumasa Hino’s “Hogiuta” explores indigenous Japanese themes. There are endless examples from around the world.

          Getting back on point, on the Kosmigroov website, Ian Scott Horst wrote a great article that concisely and clearly discusses spiritual jazz:

          Hopefully this helps somewhat and I hope I didn’t derail the thread too much.


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          • Bill Hart
            Bill Hart commented
            Editing a comment
            excellent. helps me in context.

        • #6
          Thank you lasercd. I get it. I object to the term (not the music) as you can see above but I get the general idea. Who created the term to refer to this kind of avant jazz? If it isn't officially a term then fine. Nothing wrong with that. But if it is "official" it also conjures other non-avant jazz that is spiritual and that causes me confusion, unlike terms like bop, swing, west coast, avant bop, etc.


          • lasercd
            lasercd commented
            Editing a comment
            Don’t shoot the messenger. 😀 I didn’t coin the term but its been in usage for quite some time.

          • jonathanhorwich
            jonathanhorwich commented
            Editing a comment
            No, I'm not in the least aiming at your or anyone. Just a rough task to properly name that kind of jazz. I can't think of a better name myself so far so I get why it is called that. Thanks.