The Jazz Theologian

The Jazz Theologian

What is IT?

Grammy award winner, Wynton Marsalis tells the following story about discovering IT.

Now, my younger brother Ellis couldn’t understand all this fuss about jazz.  He wasn’t a musician, and jazz just didn’t speak to him.  But he figured it might be worth it to learn to hear jazz.  Some years later he called…“Man, I think I hear it.  I can hear what y’all are playing.”

I knew exactly what it was he was talking about.  This hearing of it is the moment of revelation that leads you deeper into a love of jazz.  All at once, the potential glories of interacting with this limitless music become evident and present, pressing.  All the head-scratching and confusion are replaced with excitement and expectations.  You are welcomed into a club that never dwindles—the It club.


After all, hearing jazz is not that difficult.  Following jazz is where all the trouble begins.  But when you begin to think of jazz in terms of language, you’ll see how much you already know.  We’re all improvisers when we speak, making things up as we go along, using the base of our experience, education, and knowledge to communicate effectively.  Jazz musicians improvise the same way.  We try to express ourselves clearly, drawing on a mental database of melodies, rhythms, and textures.

…jazz is a language—a language of words, beyond words.

So what is IT?

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posted July 18, 2007 at 11:16 pm

It seems to me that you can watch someone enjoy “it” and be astonished before you ever hear “it.”

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posted July 20, 2007 at 8:44 am

Hey Tyler,
Interesting point, the wonder begins as we interact with others, before the reality arrives.

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John Layne

posted July 26, 2007 at 7:20 pm

God loves to jam, some cultures believe that God sang the world into being, just like scientist looking for the big bang, we know many stars we see are already expired, just the light is still coming. Music is the same way, all exist in the voice Of the Lord..I know music is in all things, all songs form the voice we seek to hear, ala “even the rocks would sing”..
Just let your heart sing ..
Ever heard Aeon’s Promise, may I suggest..We Need to Pray In Jesus name(electric jazz)..
Zero Hour(prog/jazz)..
free mp3’s at listen on headphones after download for best fidelity..
See ya in Heaven

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