[Dixielandjazz] Playing in Churches

TCASHWIGG at aol.com TCASHWIGG at aol.com
Sun Jan 9 19:19:50 PST 2005

In a message dated 1/9/05 3:24:30 PM, johnpetters at tiscali.co.uk write.

> I can believe that Tom. Our Gospel concerts have been some of the most
> rewarding, musically, spiritually and financially - and they do attract a
> new audience.
> Steve's comment about jazz being religious in origin is also correct. In
> fact most early practitioners were religious people of various faiths. Jelly
> & Bunk Johnson were Catholics, as was Krupa. Look also at the contribution
> Jewish musicians made - Goodman, Shaw, etc. Then there was Fats Waller,
> Baptist. And what about Duke? Now it may well be that some of these
> musicians were not devoutly religious, but their cultures would have
> contributed greatly to their approach to music. It is interesting to ponder
> as to whether a communist / atheist society could have produced a Sidney
> Bechet or a Louis Armstrong.
Certainly seems to be so John:

We must remember that the very ROOTS of American Jazz came from Negro 
Spirituals and the Cotton Field hollers with the shout and response technique, and 
then there was Thomas A. Dorsey who first took the drums and electric organ and 
guitars into the church services in the Southern USA.

Fortunately the predominately Black Churches embraced his musical ideas and 
genius as a song writer and arranger band leader.   It is also reflected 
heavily with the Black influences in the music as they played from the heart what 
they felt, mixing soulful Blues into hymns and then syncopating the rhythms for 
a joyous and inspirational feeling that moved audiences of all faiths.

The music when played well makes the players feel good as well as the 
audiences and the interaction between them is easily considered by many players to be 
as close to a Religious experience as they have ever had, and I am speaking 
of players of varying faiths or non-faiths.    I personally do feel however 
that it depends upon the musical selection greatly and certainly sequentially to 
move the set to the desired expectations of meaningfulness, inspiration and 
personal fulfillment of both the players and the audience.

When this happens it is indeed like magic, when it does not it is still often 
pretty good, sort of like Playing What a Wonderful World, sometime if it is 
in the right place at the right time it is fabulous and as we say in Jazz in 
the Ghetto in the USA Everybody in the band "GETS OFF."

Music is indeed the International Language, and many times we are fortunate 
enough to play it in the language that the audience understands.

I like to use a phrase at my gospel shows that seems to be well accepted 
everywhere we go.

"God put Music in us so We Could Pray without Words"

The funniest thing about it, is that I have often seen it happen when the 
ONLY SPIRIT in the performers had come from a bottle of 80 Proof spirits.

Another remarkable fact about this happening is in the many concerts of Elvis 
Presley, and Hank Williams, Sr.    Both known to put away substantial amounts 
of Spirits and then do Great Gospel songs.
They were both very troubled individuals but also both very Spiritual having 
grown up in the Southern portion of the USA where Gospel music put it's 
wonderful mark on many performers through the years.

In closing I would say that our level of communication with an audience with 
Gospel music or simply great inspirational songs is what counts no matter 
where you perform it.

 Just for starters, Try playing some classic songs like:   And put make sure 
the soloist plays a strong Melody so that the audience can FEEL the words of 
the Lyrics speaking to them.    when you look out into the audience and see 
people's lips moving, often silently singing the lyrics in their own language if 
it does not happen to be English, and then jump to their feet in thunderous 
applause and admiration for your rendition of the song,   Believe me it makes it 
all worth whatever hardships you just went through to get there to play for 
them.   and for that moment in Time it is indeed a Wonderful World

You'll Never Walk Alone
Amazing Grace
Just A Closer Walk with Thee
How Great Thou Art
Nobody Knows the Trouble I see
It is well with My Soul
Precious Lord Take My Hand   

And if that be God, Jesus, Mother Mary, St. Peter, Saint Gabriel, Buddha, 
Allah, Hare Krishna, Venus, Thor, or even the almighty diety of Cocal Cola, it's 
dat OLE TIME RELIGION and it was good enough for my Gramma, my Momma, Elijah, 
dem A-postles and a whole passel of folks after them, so it sho be good enough 
for me.     "The Ladder doesn't matter it's the way that you climb"

Now that's my Sermon for this fine Sunday and I'm stickin to it.

Respectfully to those who feel particularly religious or just Spiritual, no 
matter what you believe or where you do or do not go to CHURCH.

Rev- Tom Bob Wiggins

Musical content "I Believe In Music" which soothes the Savage Beast, Heals 
the Broken Hearts, Inspires us to do Great things and often commit random acts 
of Kindness, but also allows us to make a joyful noise and make people Dance in 
the Streets.

Now All together now sing or Play AAAAAA MEN, AAAAAMEN, AAAAMEN AMEN AMEN 

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