Listen, Play, Speak: Creative Approaches to Jazz in the Twenty First Century

Ambrose Research Conference presentation
Essay

The new in music represents mystery, or the other. The Christian tradition, especially the Eastern mystic tradition, has known for a long time that our sensory perceptions are less objective than science would like to assume. Embodied knowledge and experience occupies an important part of the process of exploring and understanding complex ideas in the world. This is one reason why the incorporation of art, music, movement and incense is vital to the Orthodox and Catholic liturgies. They are able to express the unknowable and the otherness of God through an embodied and communal experience. Even the scientific fields are now realizing this—that mystery and otherness inhabit the world we encounter every day. New sounds replicate an experience of otherness or spirituality through perception, but some musicians do not like new sounds. This is the case in the domain of jazz and improvised music, where new sounds at the beginning of the 21st century seem to grate too heavily upon the comfort of tradition.

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