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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 Tao of Mad Phat

The Tao of Mad Phat

Jazz Meditation and Mysticism1

Chapter:
(p.192) 6 The Tao of Mad Phat
Source:
Spirits Rejoice!
Author(s):

Jason C. Bivins

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190230913.003.0006

Significant to many musicians’ understanding of jazz’s religiosity or spirituality is the experience of transformed perceptual or emotional states. This chapter explores these from the perspective of religious experience in three separate fashions. First is an examination of the disciplines musicians pursue in cultivating these states: some musicians (like Steve Lacy or Myra Melford) practice various forms of meditation, while others (like Dennis Gonzalez or Ivo Perelman) seek transformation by establishing relations with spirits. Second is a survey of the actual experiences of these states as musicians describe them (regularly recurring language posits that the improviser becomes a vessel for divine sound or an instrument of the Creator). Last is an exploration of the resonances these experiences are said to have with known religious traditions (predominantly mystical, but also including robust evangelicalism, harmonial metaphysics, Gnosticism, and Taoism).

Keywords:   meditation, mysticism, relation, spirits, emotion

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