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Spirits Rejoice!Jazz and American Religion$
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Jason Bivins

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190230913

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190230913.001.0001

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The Magic of Juju

The Magic of Juju

Improvising Ritual1

(p.152) (p.153) 5 The Magic of Juju
Spirits Rejoice!

Jason C. Bivins

Oxford University Press

Preparation for and participation in musical improvisation is often understood to possess qualities similar to those of ritual. This chapter explores the nature of religious ritual and performance in conjunction with the innovations of jazz musicians who embrace particular ritual lineages (Dizzy Gillespie’s and Steve Coleman’s investigations of Afro-Cuban music and Santéria), those who composed and performed for particular ritual or liturgical settings (Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts and Mary Lou Williams’s masses), and those whose ritual improvisations use multiple media and references to enact settings for self-creation (Milford Graves’s calibration of circulatory rhythms with African ritual, the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s theatrical ritual, and Cecil Taylor’s invocations of Native American and Vodou spirits in his long-form piano and poetry performances).

Keywords:   ritual, performance, Santéria, Catholicism, Duke Ellington, Mary Lou Williams, Cecil Taylor, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Milford Graves, healing

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