This stunning photo is of jazz violinist and local Los Angeles tv personality Ginger Smock (1920-1995), who with bassist Vivien Garry once recorded a tune called "A Woman's Place is in the Groove"!!! Hey now! I had never heard of Ginger Smock til Lesa Terry, our March Jazz on the Sacred Side artist hipped me to her....so now, I interrupt this blog to plug the concert: Come Sunday, March 8 @ 3pm for
LESA TERRY'S QUARTET AT THE JAZZ BAKERY!
Info/tickets at jazzbakery.org. Don't miss this Jazz on the Sacred Side!
An expansive teaching moment was launched when I sent an email blast about the upcoming "Come Sunday, Jazz on the Sacred Side" concert along with a photo of Duke Ellington's only violinist and sweetest "Come Sunday" soloist, Ray Nance. I had made a habit of sending out email notices with vintage jazzy, sacred feeling images that capture some nod to the power of the upcoming artist. For Dwight Trible, I chose Mahalia Jackson. For Nailah, I found this sanctified photo of a young Maya Angelou stomping her Africa loving, Southern soil reaching feet. I chose Ray Nance's image as a nod to Lesa's elegance and soulful string swing. Look like it confused some folk that I would choose a male image for Ms. Terry who has been so joyfully steeped in the celebration of women players in Jazz. This created an opportunity for me to listen and learn about new voices in jazz and women's history, and now honestly I can't stand the fact I wasn't hip to Ginger sooner! A perfect example of folks coming together across different backgrounds, impulses and historical information and having a chance to "trade eights" and grow. This is exactly why it is my great hope and intention for this Jazz on the Sacred Side series to grow and stretch its imagination regarding what is "sacred."
"A Buddhist, a Baha'i, a Muslim, and a Scientologist walk into a bar to hear Ray Brown--"...I wanna hear that punchline! I was recently writing a divinity school application where in describing my vision for the "Duke Ellington Center for the Study of Sacred Jazz" I remarked that Jazz is the place where we have always traded ecumenical, interfaith eights, instead of intolerance and hate. If you are reading this now and have ideas about Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, and and and musicians who, like Duke, explore their "knee conversations" in their playing, please send them my way! The more we can gather and deeply listen, dialogue, call and respond, trade eights with these voices of faith that may be different than our own, the more we grow, the more we thrive, the more we have a chance as my Rev Ed Bacon would say of experiencing the human race as the human family...I challenge any jazz lover of any faith not to have wanted to hear the gig between the musicians in the photo above (Chick Corea, Art Blakey aka Abdullah Ibn Buhaina, Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock)...that's interfaith sacred jazz ya'll. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.