When I was growing up (it’s been awhile), the Today Show with Dave Garroway and Barbara Walters as hosts spliced into the morning line-up through the hour several breaks with a jazz trio or quartet. It was before remotes, so one of us kids was ordered to “turn it down” until the jazz was over. Sad what we missed.
All music for amateur hours and talent shows had to be auditioned, especially to root out the “too jazzy” possibilities for academy Saturday nights.
As an adult and professional musician most of my life, when I attended an FCC Conference in Washington, D.C., for my profession, Dave Brubeck and his jazz group were performing a jazz mass at the Washington Cathedral, which was recorded live for CD. It was amazing and had been commissioned. My jazz-loving partner was delighted.
Most recently I’ve learned new jazz to play at church, where the congregation loves it. “There’s nothing wrong with tapping one’s toes,” a retired minister told me after church last time I played jazz. “We are too straight-laced,” he continued, “if we can’t do that.”
My grandfather inlaw, a former college music professor at 3 Adventist universities before he died, would have walked out upon hearing Brubeck or my jazz prelude and offertory. Now, however we have jazz group concerts in Adventist music departments, Dixie jazzland groups, and Sabbath Schools and churches that offer praise genre music. Take Six, Grammy award-winning group, has been a leader in our society, and now many more groups, with top-quality jazz and many other genres represented by our increasingly diverse cultures. Incidentally, Mark Kibble, Take Six’s talented arranger, is joining the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University as faculty this fall. What a rich education he will be able to provide with his creativity and experience.
We’ve come a long way. Many communities encourage a variety and diversity of music. Sadly, some Adventist communities are still judgmental about music. Hopefully, since we are the most diverse Protestant denomination on the globe, we will be a leader in cultural acceptance and worship styles. May the Spirit guide us to an open spirit of praise.