|Postmodern Fusion: An Introduction to Spirit Jazz Project|
Welcome! Thank you for visiting the home of The Spirit Jazz Project. This musical endeavor is made to touch something in the soul. While you are here, enjoy a sample of our music!
Style Definition(Under Construction)
POSTMODERN FUSION: "After Modern Era Jazz Rock Hybrid" is the literal translation. Musical style that has elements of jazz and rock in its development, but takes a different approach by seeking a higher level of connectivity with the listener. As this project progresses, one of its main revelations concerns the idea of music communicating with the people, with the spirit of people. A label is only that, but here is a bit more information.
Perhaps the core idea of Postmodern music is its connection to the listener. Postmodern musical composers often take an enhanced approach to connection of audience and musical idea. Postmodernists typically use eclectic blends of musical styles and devices to convey ideas to listeners in a nontraditional way. They will often use other forms of communication to reinforce the message (both verbal and nonverbal). These may take the form of speaking to the audience within the performance, showing visual aids, and so on. This has, in fact, become somewhat of a "trademark" of postmodern music. The music literally "speaks" in a different way.
Looking at Postmodern musical concepts from a Biblical point of view can lead to confusion. Its generally a symantic issue. Many in religious circles today label the gamut of Postmodernism (on the whole mainly as a philosophical movement) as immediately "anti God". Indeed there are Postmodern philosophies aimed directly at promotion of a godless culture. However, speaking with a strict eye toward the time periods of the eras, "Postmodern" is no more heretical than any other time. If one looks at the musical criteria that have shaped the Modern era, it can be argued that civilization has moved into a new period of existence. Therefore, referring to music that is being created now, using connectivity and innovative technology in its theory/construction/marketing/distribution/etec. as "Postmodern" is no more menacing than noting when Baroque changed to Classical.
Looking at music that is occuring in this "Postmodern" era through a Biblical lens has led to several theories/questions: First, music can be construed as a gift from God. Looking at the Scriptures, music is shown to be used as a tool of communication, often in praise and worship. If music is a gift from God, then it should be used for noble purposes. If these purposes involve people from many walks of faith, then the music should be able to communicate beyond boundaries of language and culture. Perhaps the "message" of the music might present itself through the power of the Holy Spirit? Perhaps this message can be framed by a title or short description, but will impact each person as God would intend? Artists have long been able to communicate themselves, whether veiled or truthfully, through lyrics. God has used the Bible for many centuries to communicate His specific messages to specific people. Perhaps He might communicate a personal message through instrumental music as well?
The music of Spirit Jazz Project is postmodern philosophically because it blends elements of stylistic eclecticism, recombination, rejection of tradition, and connectedness with musical composition. Postmodern because this music has been developing and maturing in an age where the ability to connect crossculturally has never been so instantaneously possible. Postmodern in that it attempts to connect the listener to a higher message.
Speaking in terms of the rudimental, "postmodern" because it focuses upon the best things about the jazz fusion genre, and combines these with what seems most important about music in the first place. This new genre is achieved by avoiding pretentiousness sometimes associated with jazz, and getting to the core concepts that listeners care about: HONEST PURPOSED, HIGH QUALITY MELODY, WITH A GOOD GROOVE!! It's "Blue Collar Bebop". Labels mean nothing. Read on.
It must be in the water. Members of the Spirit Jazz Project live and work in southwestern Pennsylvania. One thing a person learns about living here in "Steeler Country" is that people work hard! This trait carries over into how we develop friendships and what we believe. We are people with genuine HEART and SOUL! People who have been strengthened by hardship. To be sure, there are others in the world that share these same qualities. However, we should speak about what we know, and for the sake of this discussion we might look at this local community as a small slice of the rest of the world. At any rate we have attempted to create the music of SJP from this same "heart and soul" material. It must be in the water.
This relates to music in a very practical way. Think about it. Popular musical giants like: Miles Davis, The Beatles, The Temptations, and others...What made them so popular and durable? Soulful melody, great chords, exquisite lyrics, and a deep impact on the listener. Whether the intent was for good or evil, the music has survived. These musical elements, examined without evil intent, are what Spirit Jazz Project is all about.
The Spirit Jazz Project begins as an experimental vision. That vision: To create and/or translate music that is about life. Music that could explore many subjects, most recently Biblical themes and spiritual issues. Music made to communicate deeply with the most important part of people. Music that might help others to hear something that God could speak to their heart. Music that might help the composer and players to connect with God in a different way. The scope and range of this musical experiment has gone far beyond its original small picture. Fascinating but frightening all in the same breath. Is it inspirational in the traditional sense? Yes and no. Perhaps, like life, it is to some degree what you make it.
The group's latest album, "Square Peg", is made to tell (and/or begin) a story in the mind of the listener. Often the thought has been to offer up a song title and a melody, and let the imagination fill in the rest. More recently though, it seems that there are those that hunger for explanation and guidance in their listening. It seems to work both ways.
Consider the name "Spirit Jazz Project". It was conceived in several trains of thought. The first, "Spirit" was to draw attention to the fact that the music is created from God given talent. This is humbly said, and in the most imperfect way. However, it is only proper to credit The Source. Second, the music is meant to explore the idea that spiritual connections might be made that will serve a higher purpose. Third, the music has its foundations in jazz. The chord structures and harmonies are culled from a jazz frame of mind. This core is then steeped in blues, rock, Motown, funk, and country. The process of straining the foundational jazz vibe through these other sources is twofold: 1.) It opens the door for people that might not enjoy a more traditional jazz format, and 2.) It allows a nice "groove".
The "Project" in SJP is important, because this is a laboratory of sound. The group tries to translate what comes from the heart into music that is heard and felt. It is not meant to be absolutely perfect. Nor is it meant as a series of hypocritical statements that cannot change and evolve as we grow. This leads to the next point.
Take the most important element of any music; the ability to touch something in the listener. Genres like soul, country, and blues push this to the forefront, by appealing to elemental human nature. It could be anything that sparks a connection (like a great lyric, a catchy melody, a persistent riff, or a searing guitar solo). But it brings awareness, and sometimes chills. Perhaps it is merely human, and then again it might be an avenue for another more important lesson? Perhaps spiritual connections? Perhaps one could twist this "connectivity" factor with chords, bass lines, and beats that are rich in texture and thought? Inspirational? When these things are present in the right combination, people can connect to the music in a beautiful, "hands on", "gut level", emotional way. You might call it a "blue collar" connection. That kind of connection is what Spirit Jazz is all about.
Ultimately speaking, the Spirit Jazz Project is an opinion. One which you the listener will decide. Realize that it was done with the best intentions and a high degree of faithfulness. Hopefully you will find it as rewarding as the musicians who created it. We feel that everyone that listens somehow becomes a member of the family. Each of you bring a valid impression to our table. So, bring your life experiences and apply them to what you hear. Enjoy!
|Last Updated on Friday, 17 October 2008 20:51|