The Spirit of Jazz Podcast

Episode 7 - Jazz as Prayer  

Today we welcome Jamie Howison to The Spirit of Jazz. He is a priest of the Anglican Church of Canada, a jazz lover, and a kindred soul. He lives and works in Winnipeg. 

We discovered Jamie through one of his books, God’s Mind in That Music: Theological Explorations through the Music of John Coltrane. It’s an extraordinary book, published on Cascade Books. You can find it by clicking here

Check out his website at www.jamiehowison.ca 

Featured music: “Elegy” from Jazz for the Earth 

Bill Carter and the Presbybop Sextet 

David Liebman, guest soloist. 

Featured music: “Ice Cold” from Jazz for the Earth 

Bill Carter and the Presbybop Sextet 

David Liebman, guest soloist 

Theme music: "All Thumbs" from Faith in a New Key, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Quartet 
Music used by permission from Presbybop Music (BMI) 
Announcer: Chris Norton 
(c) Presbybop Music

Episode 6 - An Open Universe  

Here is another conversation about creativity. Do new melodies - and ideas - comes as a message from Headquarters? This is a mystery, of course, but we continue to chase it. We listen to a jazz performance of an old melody from Ireland. And we hear how Dave Brubeck turned down a commission to compose for a papal mass - and then dreamed up the piece while he slept. You can click here and listen to him tell the story. 

Bill also recounts a story from Herbie Hancock about a wrong chord, transformed by ingenuity. Here is the link to hear Herbie tell the story.  

Featured music: “Be Thou My Vision” from Faith in a New Key, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Quartet 

Theme music: "All Thumbs" from Faith in a New Key, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Quartet 
Music used by permission from Presbybop Music (BMI) 
Announcer: Chris Norton 
(c) Presbybop Music

 

Episode 5 - Crossing the Dotted Line  

We heard someone grumble, “We’ve never heard jazz in church before.” It reminds us of an insulting letter from a noted preacher, disparaging jazz as inferior music. Both assume there’s a hard line between “sacred” and “secular” that must never be crossed. But jazz steps over those divisions. 

Bach dedicated his musical manuscripts to God, even if they had no lyrics. Dave Brubeck reminds us how Bach, his favorite musician, adapted drinking songs because the congregation knew them. The Holy can find us anywhere, on bar stool or church pew. Some musicians affirm they’ve been found, and the best evidence may be the Christmas story, when the Holy is found on earth. So we offer a burning version of a jazz Christmas carol. It will melt the icicles of the coldest heart! 

Featured music: “Joy to the World” from Jazz Noel, The Presbybop Christmas Eve Band 

Theme music: "All Thumbs" from Faith in a New Key, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Quartet 
Music used by permission from Presbybop Music (BMI) 
Announcer: Chris Norton 
(c) Presbybop Music

Episode 4 - A New Song Again  

Jazz unfolds like a conversation! It’s a dialogue with a tune, with other musicians, with the imagination. The music values relationships, teamwork, collaboration, and mutual participation. We explore the reality of the “Muse” - inspiration personified - and revealed in the necessary ingredient of playfulness. And yes, there’s something mysterious at work. So let’s chase after it. 

Featured music: “I Lost My Keys in Kennedy Airport,” unreleased live recording 

Theme music: "All Thumbs" from Faith in a New Key, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Quartet 
Music used by permission from Presbybop Music (BMI) 
Announcer: Chris Norton 
(c) Presbybop Music

Bonus Episode - Mystery in the Music  

In this musical episode, we offer two complete performances of jazz tunes that have a bit of mystery. 

Dawn Shall Break Again” was the centerpiece of our Faith in a New Key album. “The Gate is Narrow, the Road is Hard” is a live performance from Binghamton University. It’s never been released, but a studio version does appear on our Stand On Your Head recording. 

Theme music: "All Thumbs" from Faith in a New Key, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Quartet 
Music used by permission from Presbybop Music (BMI) 
Announcer: Chris Norton 
(c) Presbybop Music

Episode 3 - What is Jazz?  

Jazz is more than a style. It’s a tradition, filled with imagination, interpretation, and improvisation. We explore the curious practice of creating music as it proceeds. How does that work? We learn by listening, so we offer a tune from a Presbybop Quartet album. 

Along the way, Jeff Kellam refers to a luminous biography of Mary Lou Williams by Deanna Witkowski, the equally luminous jazz pianist. We will talk to Deanna in a future episode. In the meantime, we highly recommend Mary Lou Williams: Music for the Soul.  Order it here

 

Featured music: “This or That” from Psalms Without Words 

Theme music: "All Thumbs" from Faith in a New Key, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Quartet 
Music used by permission from Presbybop Music (BMI) 
Announcer: Chris Norton 
(c) Presbybop Music

Episode 2 - The WOW Moment  

Here’s one thing that musicians and listeners have in common: the possibility of a transcendent moment. Bill tells a treasured family story about a Louis Armstrong concert in 1955. In many ways, that concert shaped his destiny even before he was alive. Jazz has a special super power to make a room come alive. We hear about the experience of bassist Christian McBride, performing with pianist McCoy Tyner. And we recall a “moment” marked by Thomas Merton, the monk who was a jazz lover. And if that isn’t enough, our friend David Liebman (deemed a Jazz Master by the National Endowment of the Arts) reveals what he aims for as a creative musician. 

 Featured music: “Welcome Home” from Welcome Home 

Theme music: "All Thumbs" from Faith in a New Key, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Quartet 
Music used by permission from Presbybop Music (BMI) 
Announcer: Chris Norton 
(c) Presbybop Music

Episode 1 - Is Jazz Spiritual?  

Episode 1 – Is Jazz Spiritual? 

Welcome to our first episode! Bill Carter and Jeff Kellam introduce the theme of this podcast and tell you something about themselves. This is a podcast about the spiritual power of syncopated music. How might music awaken, enrich, and empower our lives? How might jazz direct us toward acts of love, justice, and mercy?  That's what we want to explore. 

Tell us how you fell in love with jazz. Send an email to podcast@presbybop.com

Music: Ebo's Waltz from Interior Window, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Quartet 
Theme music: All Thumbs from Faith in a New Key, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Quartet 
Music used by permission from Presbybop Music (BMI) 
Announcer: Chris Norton 
(c) Presbybop Music 

Our Advance Trailer  

We are pleased to announce The Spirit of Jazz podcast with co-hosts Bill Carter and Jeff Kellam. Thanks for finding us! This is the podcast where music dances with mystery. We invite you to subscribe to future episodes as we explore the spiritual dimensions of syncopated music.   

The Spirit of Jazz is a production of Presbybop Music. Beginning in September 2022, new episodes will be released on the first and third Fridays of every month. If there is a fifth Friday, we will offer a bonus episode.  

Subscribe today by going to our Podcast host site, connecting the RSS link below, or visiting wherever fine podcasts can be found.