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YOU ARE HERE: Homepage > Music: The Universal Language > Evolution of jazz to Spirit-Music

An Emerging Lineage of Free-Jazz Illuminati
- Healing the Soul and Expressing the Divine Through Sound

the Lineage of Spirit-Music
Music appreciation for the evolving soul
The evolution of Jazz into Spiritual expressive music
Spiritual Masters of Jazz and soul-energy-music
The Basic Truth of Musical Vibration and Reality
Music as the Natural Language of Spirit
The Evolution of Jazz into Spiritual Expressive Music 
•The call of the spirit
•Jazz provides the right set of possibilities
•Attributes of free-jazz improv as spiritual practice
•Quotes on music, jazz and spirit

Since humans first discovered music it has been a source of mystery, joy and magic. The earliest music was ALL for spiritual and magical purposes because it directly affected the nervous system of the listener. With no language or special skills necessary the shaman/trance-musician could invoke experiences of joy, sentimentality, passion, war, sadness or transcendence.

As humans progressed music became more ritualized and increasingly stripped of its function of moving the soul and opening the heart. Music was discovered to be a means of anchoring memories to certain experiences, and propelling various physical activities, aka church music, work music, music for dancing and social gatherings, advertisement jingles, etc. Still very good music for what it is designed for, but stripped of most of the psychic and spiritual content.
The Call of the Spirit

Today when we hear a particular musician who we spontaneously say "has a lot of soul", it is the yearning of the spirit to move toward a state of freedom, and our sympathy with that which we feel as "soul". Certain music has soul because it catches our ear, it sounds different .... less asleep, less constricted, less caught in struggle and more in the flow of nature.

Jimi hendrix for example is considered to be one of the most soulful guitarists ever - but examining the music it's his inner passion and freedom from technique that we are responding to. We hear in 'soulful' music an ecstatic free state of consciousness, and within us a desire is created for union with this experience.

Jazz Provides the Right Set of Possibilities

With the advent of jazz, arguably the most culturally integrated of world music's, a seed was planted that grew into a 'new' form of spiritual practice. (Actually an ancient way of realizing ones path to God or universal realization thru the use of sound, a theme appearing in many cultures back thru time.)

This new expression of ancient sound-enlightenment has roots extending back thru the 1940's ....
possibly starting with Charlie Parker, who was not exactly a mystic as such - but his music was of such sublime effortless beauty that he was considered an oracle by many musicians.
He was a prophet of things to come. he was also inspired by avant-garde and modern classical composers such as Edgar Varèse and Igor Stravinsky.

Also of note was Louis Armstrong "pops" who donated some beautiful karma to this stream, the great Duke Elligton for his majestic & visionary compositional skills and King Pleasure - an eccentric singer, philosopher and savior.

In development at this time were two souls who seem to be the primary early free-jazz mystics - Sun-Ra and Albert Ayler.

From there it branches off to the powerful influence of John Coltrane and his lineage, Pharoah Sanders, Donald Rafael Garret, Rev. Frank Wright, Yuseef Lateef, WIlliam Parker, Dave Liebman, David S. Ware, Kali Z Fasteau, Arthur Rhames and now Tisziji Munoz.

 

Attributes of Free Jazz improvisation as Spiritual / Yogic Practice

I remember the first time I experienced that floating, out-of-the-body feeling. It was a number of years ago, when I was playing in Chicago. At the time, I didn't know what it was. I said, "What is this?" and I backed off it for a minute.
~Leroy Williams


"With certain groups, like Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, and now my own group, there is a level of playing which we try to reach which is the same thing that people do when they do transcendental meditation and yoga.
They talk about "out of the body" experiences. That's what this music is. It's chanting; it's meditation; it's yoga.
It's all these things. In order to play, something transcends.
Something happens with the physical, the spiritual and the mental state in which they combine, and their energy is turned free.

It's a cleansing experience which in a religion they would say, "It's of another world." The state I'm talking about even transcends emotions. It's a feeling of being able to communicate with all living things."
~Ronald Shannon Jackson


This form of spiritual practice through jazz is a mixture of
mental/physical discipline, zen, pranayama, psychic purification, kundalini yoga, in-the-Now-ness, spontaneous harmonious psychic co-operation, cosmic discernment and selflessness / transpersonal awareness.

mental/physical discipline - peak awareness, clarity of focus and fluent control of one's instrument and physical organic mechanism

zen - a judgementless state of acceptance of experience and graceful flow-state

pranayama - rhythmic control of breathing to alter or focus consciousness during meditation, yoga or improvisation. - happens naturally for many wind players

psychic purification - at a certain point in developing ones improvisatory technique, after conquering physical technique and developing a flow-state, the limiting factor becomes ones physio-psychic ability to maintain the highest groove, or aka - channel divine light. the ultra-subtle psychic knots and energy blocks seem more apparent as they are revealed to be the limiting factors in what energy levels of vibration are able to come through you, as you.
the purging of unattended fears, self-acknowledgement of all inner and outer truths, untangling of neuro-physical blockages stored from painful or shocking experiences and the settling of all current affairs is necessary to remove any barriers between you and total universal communication.

kundalini yoga - spirit-jazz seems to be fueled by a force variously known as kundalini, glossolalia, the holy spirit, the logos or spirit-fire. This force drives the player to unparalleled levels of sustained creativity, energy, focus, depth and eloquence.

in-the-Now-ness - free improvisation in a group setting requires a complete surrender to the group sound current as embodied in the unique synergistic possibilities of the set of players. Any attempt at planning, thought, habit-based playing or any self-based activity is not NOW-ness and is a step backward into time/self based limitations instead of outward, unrestricted group becoming. Any stray thought, memeory, or distraction from the happenings at that exact second is a break in the collective state of wordless abstract vibrational co-operation.
Not simply the practice of Now-ness but the higher challenge of active creative group now-ness.

spontaneous harmonious psychic co-operation - at this level of freedom and group creation, the purity of empathy between the musicians, the unspoken psychic/spiritual understanding must be immaculate. The group soars off into the vibra-verse in divine unison through the miracle of all players feeling the same 'cosmic groove' and co-navigating like a flock of birds. This level of instant communication is impossible through words.

cosmic discernment - navigating the cosmic vibrations as group psychic travelers, propelled by inner heart-fire, as a process of group spirit travel requires great sensitivity to all frequencies of vibration. emotional, mental, social, harmonic, karmic and cosmic ebbs and flows of energy must be opened to as much as possible. This goes back to purification as many of these vibrations may be intolerable (causing heartbreak and mania) unless corresponding inner blockages are addressed.

transpersonal awareness - awareness during a high musical event may take on transpersonal aspects, including seeing the self as a player being played by an energetic force, feeling that the entire band has merged into a single organism or group mind, dilation of time and expansion of tiny nuances in the music, and / or loss of all physical awareness except for the music.

These factors are what make ecstatic spirit-jazz unique in spiritual practice.
It is simultaneously a form of spiritual healing & energy distribution, group psychic communication, mental/physical/emotional/spiritual development, prayer to God, musical performance, cosmic/astral exploration & fine-art.

To play music on the Divine level of Coltrane's late works or Tisziji's "Divine radiance" requires a totally uninhibited consciousness with an endlessly open heart to allow for unobstructed energy flow from spirit to mind to body to instrument to listener and back to universe.

Spiritual Jazz Quotes

When sound vibrates at a certain level we can see a corridor. At the end of this corridor is a room where all the secrets are kept. This room is locked and can only be opened through sound. If we play the right combination of tones the door opens and we are allowed to enter the room. Once inside a secret of life is revealed to us. Every time we play music we can enter this room.
~William Parker

Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn.
~Charlie Parker

The music is what sustains the player from beginning to end. That's where you get your life from. That's why you play jazz.
~Art Farmer

Music is a special gift from God to those who have it and it's necessary for us to follow it through to the extent of our abilities, whatever they may be. That's what I life for. A friend of mine saw Kenny Dorham playing somewhere the night before he died. Kenny was playing on crutches, but he was playing right to the end. God willing, that's the way it will also be with me.
-Joe Williams


“Making money ain’t nothing exciting to me. You might be able to buy a little better booze than the wino on the corner. But you get sick just like the next cat and when you die you’re just as graveyard dead as he is.”

(what is jazz?) “Man, if you have to ask what it is, you’ll never know.”

“What we play is life.”

“Jazz is played from the heart. You can even live by it. Always love it.”
~Louis armstrong

"My hope is that we will use this time space to renew our relationship with cultural dynamics and begin again the fight for the challenge of composite existence and positive experience. We must rededicate ourselves to the hope of world peace, human rights, and cosmic destiny. Creativity is the engine of evolution and healing. We are now in a new era and there is everything to do."
~Anthony Braxton responding to the events of Sept-
11, 2001.

"
Something happens with the physical, the spiritual and the mental state in which they combine, and their energy is turned free.
It's a cleansing experience which in a religion they would say, "It's of another world." The state I'm talking about even transcends emotions. It's a feeling of being able to communicate with all living things."
~Ronald Shannon Jackson


 
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