Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Milestones

Spiritual jazz

44 posts in this topic

On 20/12/2012 at 2:36 PM, clifford_thornton said:

When I think of "spiritual jazz" I think of post-Coltrane modal plateau mossy stuff, perhaps with electric piano, additional percussion, and/or choral elements. Funky rhythms are encouraged, but with significantly longer tracks than "jazz-dance" DJ material (such as Sahib Shihab Seeds, Sadi records, etc.). It's more a tag for collectors and the increased wallet linings of dealers than any real aesthetic thrust. I tend to like some of these kinds of records just because I like good music, but I'm sometimes amazed by the prices that people will pay for that one "spiritual groover" that few would have batted an eye at 10-20 yrs ago.

Slightly random re-up of an old thread, but does anyone have a feel for when the term "spiritual jazz" started to be used in this way?  I don't really remember the term until around 2005. These days it's absolutely everywhere, and it's cultural visibility is having quite a big effect on what gets played, made or reissued and what doesn't. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, Rabshakeh said:

Slightly random re-up of an old thread, but does anyone have a feel for when the term "spiritual jazz" started to be used in this way?  I don't really remember the term until around 2005. These days it's absolutely everywhere, and it's cultural visibility is having quite a big effect on what gets played, made or reissued and what doesn't. 

I tried pasting an image, without success, showing the usage of the term "spiritual jazz" over the last century or so.

This link should bring you to the image:  https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=spiritual+jazz&year_start=1910&year_end=2019&corpus=26&smoothing=3

The figure shows an initial peak around 1925.  Then there's a period of steady increase in usage from 1990 to 2000.  It's been increasing again over the last few years.  The usage pattern varies somewhat depending upon the filtering selection that is used.  This, of course, says nothing about the way in which the term was used (certainly there was a different context in the mid to late 1920s), just the frequency with which it was used. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, jazztrain said:

This link should bring you to the image:  https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=spiritual+jazz&year_start=1910&year_end=2019&corpus=26&smoothing=3

The figure shows an initial peak around 1925.  Then there's a period of steady increase in usage from 1990 to 2000.

The steepest rise seems to be between 1995-1997, but it continues at nearly the same upward slope thru about 1999/2000 even. So I’d peg the biggest upsurge as being the last half of the 90’s (that entire half decade).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1925, eh? Like when jazz players played actual spirituals?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, jazztrain said:

I tried pasting an image, without success, showing the usage of the term "spiritual jazz" over the last century or so.

This link should bring you to the image:  https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=spiritual+jazz&year_start=1910&year_end=2019&corpus=26&smoothing=3

The figure shows an initial peak around 1925.  Then there's a period of steady increase in usage from 1990 to 2000.  It's been increasing again over the last few years.  The usage pattern varies somewhat depending upon the filtering selection that is used.  This, of course, says nothing about the way in which the term was used (certainly there was a different context in the mid to late 1920s), just the frequency with which it was used. 

That's really interesting. Strange that it peaked in 2001 so clearly. I would have thought that with the recent crazes for Strata East etc It would have been at its peak now.

I'd be interested to know what spiritual jazz might have entailed in 1925? Was it The Saints Go Marchin' On? Or was it just a bunch of spiritual jazz that people kept talking?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/20/2012 at 6:36 AM, clifford_thornton said:

When I think of "spiritual jazz" I think of post-Coltrane modal plateau mossy stuff, perhaps with electric piano, additional percussion, and/or choral elements. Funky rhythms are encouraged, but with significantly longer tracks than "jazz-dance" DJ material (such as Sahib Shihab Seeds, Sadi records, etc.). It's more a tag for collectors and the increased wallet linings of dealers than any real aesthetic thrust. I tend to like some of these kinds of records just because I like good music, but I'm sometimes amazed by the prices that people will pay for that one "spiritual groover" that few would have batted an eye at 10-20 yrs ago.

I agree, the existence of this commercial niche IS interesting.  I guess Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, and the Mwandishi musicians undersupplied the market!

I’ve also listened to some of the more recent recordings in this vein.  They’re fun but also mostly empty calories.

On 12/18/2012 at 8:43 AM, Milestones said:

I'm not all that interested in gospel in general, and there aren't too many gospel or hymn-based jazz records that I can really listen to all the way through, even instrumental--my preference over vocal. Of course, it depends on how you view "spiritual jazz." Many find much of Coltrane's music to be spiritual, and I would concur with that.

 

Anyway, I have put together a couple of playlists of spiritual jazz, with Cyrus Chestnut and Charlie Haden figuring heavily. Indeed, Steal Away by Hank Jones and Charlie Haden may be the high water mark for me. But I also have Ellington, Monk, Charles Lloyd, Grant Green, Donald Byrd (the incredibly moving "Cristo Redentor"), Randy Weston, Arthur Blythe, and more.

What about Ray Charles, Horace Silver, Jimmy Smith, Cannonball Adderley, Bobby Timmons?  

I think it’s interesting and a little odd that many discussions of spiritual jazz almost entirely discount music that was heavily influenced by the Black American church.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Guy Berger said:

I agree, the existence of this commercial niche IS interesting.  I guess Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, and the Mwandishi musicians undersupplied the market!

I’ve also listened to some of the more recent recordings in this vein.  They’re fun but also mostly empty calories.

I find it interesting the way that some artists, like The Pyramids, have basically been rediscovered to fit what is now a recognised genre.

It's not really a bad thing (unless you were hoping to get Black Jazz LPs for a decent price). But it is noticeable quite what a "commercial niche " it has become. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was happening in R&B the same time it was happening in jazz. The culture as a whole was looking for more than just capitalism and war (was there a difference at that time in our history?). so, you know, the choices were revolution with guns and shit, or "spiritual". Everybody represenhted Fred Hampton, but who wanted to end up like him? So, you know...other options.

and to willfully ignore the music of the black church at any point, even today, on black music as a whole....ok, do that if you want to, just don't think you know something about any of it if you can't be bothered with all of it.

because it's like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I guess Kamasi Washington jumped right from Gerald Wilson's band right into some astral jazz - 
at least, that's what it seemed like because of all of the young people talking about their new
discoveries when it came to the mixtures. There's more leaning toward afrofuturism these days and I
kind of find much of all of that more interesting than young guys still trying to bop their way forward.

A couple years back when I did 2 Mixcloud mixes that totaled about 8 hours of mostly the free jazz
that I grew up enjoying, I started getting comments on their "spiritual jazz" qualities, but other than the
time that most of it comes from that included influences of Nation of Islam, Egyptology and probably a
little bit of Eastern philosophy, I was a little surprised that the phrase still kept getting used.
Isn't there a series of "Spiritual Jazz" that's up to number 13 or 14 by now?

If anyone cares: Random Radio 033: No Energy Crisis (Part 1) / Random Radio 038: No Energy Crisis (Part 2)

Edited by rostasi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"spiritual" as opposed to "materialistic"

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, JSngry said:

"spiritual" as opposed to "materialistic"

Yeah, ineffable - that which can't be "F"'d.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

as opposed to Spiritual(s).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

To me, what I think of as spiritual jazz - nicely summarized earlier by Cliffords Thornton - spills over into a slightly less-intense subgenre of early-70s black consciousness grooves.  This stuff is more quiet, generally minor-key, and introspective.  Fender Rhodes or Wurly electric piano.  Blaxploitation scores generally include a few tracks like this sandwiched between the wacka-wacka car chase/drug bust cues.  You will also find this stuff sprinkled through early-70s albums by Les McCann, Billie Paul, even some CTI records.  James Moody's version of  War's "The World is a Ghetto" nicely captures this mood.  (I could probably listen to this track on repeat for hours.)

For me, Lonnie Liston Smith stands between these two subgenres.  Key tracks like the great "Rejuvenation" fit more into the Pharoah Sanders/Alice Coltrane realm, while other stuff has that quiet, minor-key, introspective sound that I love.  

 

Edited by Teasing the Korean

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's how I understand the term too: more hippy / aquarian / afrocentric themes than church/gospel centred (although no doubt that's lurking in here: you can't ignore it); but really a close cousin to the other post-factum jazz genre "rare groove".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep. And even in 2012 it was cheaper to get into on the used record market than now. Sheesh!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apologies if I overlooked prior mention of it while perusing this thread, but anybody interested in this genre, however we define it, should definitely check out Jazzman’s ongoing Spiritual Jazz series (I know a number of other board members follow or are aware of these releases). The two most recent volumes focus on modern-day artists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, ghost of miles said:

Aanybody interested in this genre, however we define it, should definitely check out Jazzman’s ongoing Spiritual Jazz series (I know a number of other board members follow or are aware of these releases). The two most recent volumes focus on modern-day artists.

I have all 13 volumes (18 CD's, if I just counted right) -- and it's largely a pretty brilliant series, even if the label-specific ones were of less interest (only because I already had about 75% of the material on them already).

And the recent J-Jazz Deep Modern Jazz From Japan (BBE) series, which is up 3 volumes so far (5 CD's total) all have a considerably "spiritual-jazz" bent too, if not 100% -- and I could call equally fantastic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.