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Episode 12 - Got the Blues  

In this episode we explore the blues. How does the blues get into the bloodstream of jazz? What does this suggest about human life and the spiritual life? How might the blues express our suffering? Or pray our hope? 

 

Featured music: 

“Down Goes Babylon” from Dancing Day, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Quartet 
Music used by permission from Presbybop Music (BMI) 

“Out of the Depths” from Psalms Without Words, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Quartet 
Music used by permission from Presbybop Music (BMI) 

“Coventry Carol” from Fragile Incarnation, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Quartet 
Music used by permission from Presbybop Music (BMI) 

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 11 - Jazz Goes to the Cathedral  

We explore a little-known jazz story: Vince Guaraldi composed and performed a mass! We talk with Derrick Bang, his biographer, about the creation of this music. It was presented at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, in May 1965. It’s an extraordinary story and we’re glad to tell it. 

Want to hear the mass? The highlights were recorded by Fantasy Records, and you can obtain that recording by clicking here. (The MP3 files are more readily available than the CD or LP.) 

To learn more about Derrick’s connection to Vince Guaraldi, visit his page at  http://fivecentsplease.org/dpb/guaraldi.html 

Want to learn more about our 50th anniversary celebration at Grace Cathedral in 2015? Derrick has a lengthy series of accounts listed below: 

And we suggest subscribing to his blog of All Things Guaraldi at http://impressionsofvince.blogspot.com/ 

You can get your own copy of Vince Guaraldi at the Piano by clicking here on Amazon or clicking here for the publisher’s page. We have additional material of our conversation with Derrick which we will release as a bonus podcast in the future. 

Featured music: 

“Blues in F,” performed by Bill Carter with the Jim Martinez Trio at the 50th anniversary of the Guaraldi Mass, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, accompanied by the Jim Martinez trio. Music is unreleased. © Presbybop Music. 

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 10 - Jazz and Charlie Brown  

 “The only time we heard jazz on television when I was a kid,” says trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, “was when A Charlie Brown Christmas came to town” Our guest for the next two episodes is Derrick Bang, music critic and author of Vince Guaraldi at the Piano. As Guaraldi’s biographer, he has a unique perspective on how the pianist’s music became an integral part of the animated Charlie Brown specials. 

You can get your own copy of Vince Guaraldi at the Piano by clicking here on Amazon or clicking here for the publisher’s page. 

Featured music: 

  • “Jamming on Three Chords,” an unreleased live recording, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Christmas Eve Band. Music used by permission from Presbybop Music (BMI) 
  • “O Tannenbaum,” public domain, arranged by Bill Carter and the Presbybop Christmas Eve Band. Unreleased live recording. Music used by permission from Presbybop Music (BMI) 

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 - Jazz as Joy  

In this special episode, we offer musical highlights from the annual Jazz Christmas Eve event at First Presbyterian Church, Clarks Summit, PA. Our Presbybop Elves include Mike Carbone on saxophone, Tony Marino on bass, Marko Marcinko on drums, and Bill Carter on piano. 

Want to enjoy the video of the event? Go to https://youtu.be/xLqiV51k5t4

Featured music: 

  • Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming, from Jazz Noel, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Christmas Eve Band 
  • Angels We Have Heard on High, recorded live on Christmas Eve 
  • We Wish You a Merry Christmas, recorded live on Christmas Eve 

 

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 9 - Jazz as Incarnation  

Jazz is embodied music. Ideas take flesh! This is a grand spiritual theme, of course, and lies at the heart of Christmas story. But what does incarnation sound like? That’s what this episode is all about. And we have the music to prove it. 

Here’s the free verse poem that Bill composed: 

 

When Word 

takes flesh 

it is a fragile 

Incarnation. 

Power becomes subject to weakness, 

Freedom is chained by time, 

Fools compromise Wisdom, 

Death crouches behind the Door. 

Still we discern a Way 

Through the dark, 

giving, 

embracing, 

loving 

risking all. 

And joy finds us. 

 

Featured music: 

  • Away in a Manger, from Jazz Noel, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Christmas Eve Band 
  • What Child is This, from Fragile Incarnation, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Quartet 
  • Sussex Carol, from Fragile Incarnation, 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 8 - Jazz as Hope  

What can jazz suggest to us about hope? Good question for all times of year, but especially for the season of Advent. We explore the question with two ancient chants as our soundtrack. Along the way, we chew on two poignant quotations:   

“It is in the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable in this life that we realize that all symphonies remain unfinished.”  - Karl Rahner 

“Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.” - Reinhold Niebuhr, The Irony of American History 

                                                                                                                                              

Featured music: 

  • “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” from Jazz Noel, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Christmas Eve Band 
  • “Creator of the Stars of Night” from Fragile Incarnation, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Quartet 
  • “Shadows Into Light” from The Dancing Calvinist, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Quintet 

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 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.