By Jason C. Bivins
In Spirits have a good time! Jason Bivins explores the connection among American faith and American song, and the locations the place faith and jazz have overlapped.
Much writing approximately jazz has a tendency towards glorified discographies or impressionistic descriptions of the particular sounds. instead of delivering a heritage, or sequence of biographical entries, Spirits have a good time! takes to center a significant attribute of jazz itself and improvises, producing a set of subject matters, goals, reoccurring foci, and interpretations. Bivins riffs on interviews, liner notes, journals, viewers reception, and significant remark, generating a piece that argues for the centrality of non secular stories to any valid figuring out of jazz, whereas additionally suggesting that jazz opens up new interpretations of yankee spiritual heritage. Bivins examines issues similar to musical creativity as on the topic of particular non secular traditions, jazz as a kind of formality and therapeutic, and jazz cosmologies and metaphysics. Spirits Rejoice! connects spiritual reports to Jazz stories via thematic photos, and an unlimited variety of interviews to suggest a brand new, improvisationally fluid archive for pondering faith, race, and sound within the usa. Bivins's conclusions discover how the sound of spirits rejoicing demanding situations not just winning understandings of race and song, but additionally the way in which we expect approximately religion.
Spirits Rejoice! is a vital quantity for any pupil of jazz, American faith, or American tradition.
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Extra resources for Spirits Rejoice!: Jazz and American Religion
After decades of prolific activity, Rivers relocated from New York to Orlando, Florida, where he explored his grandfather’s 1882 collection of spirituals and folk tunes. ”22 Rivers believed his music flowed from this lineage, and from another family trajectory. 23 While Rivers worried about art in an America he dubbed “Alice in Crazyland,” he believed creativity could still be a kind of life raft. ” I asked. Rivers enthused, “It is! ”27 For Rivers, the emotionality and the continual questioning of creativity were not just areas where art became part of one’s life; they were also registers of religion, as certain to him as the spirituals were to his grandfather.
As Ronald Radano writes of sound and history, this exemplifies Zora Neale Hurston’s observation that in order to make a story good one must “lie it up” a bit. This does not entail purveying mistruths but instead calls attention to the inevitable role of fabrication in writing, where descriptions and interpretive frames are constructed through deliberate embellishments, omissions, and stylistic sizzle. Because writing can never be “true” in the colloquial sense—never fully mapping onto what we imagine is “out there” independent of language—the very idea of truths, essences, or stabilities emerges as a “lie” more recognizable than those of style and story.
While the music changed in the 1950s, it is mostly unrelated to the evidence Saul cites: the “holy roller” influence in Mingus records, the activist tunes of Max Roach, or the pervading influence of African retentions or church music. I bring up these limits not as a preface to some academic cutting contest, that dull ritual. But in looking beyond these orientations, and beyond narrow definitions of religiosity coming from outside musical communities and practitioners, we find provocative evidence of a broader history of religio-musical exploration central to jazz.
Spirits Rejoice!: Jazz and American Religion by Jason C. Bivins