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December 9, 2013 / robinswood

Jazz and the spirituals

live at the village vanguard

Just came across this really fine post on NPR’s “A Blog Supreme” which gives a five song tour of some jazz-inflected spirituals… or in the case of the John Coltrane’s piece “Spiritual,” some spiritually informed jazz. The writer of the blog mentions that in the liner notes to the original Live at the Village Vanguard Coltrane had stated that the group had been working on “Spiritual” for some time, “because I wanted to make sure that we would be able to get the original emotional essence of the spiritual.”

Also included in this selection of five songs are Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s version of “Down by the Riverside,” Grant Green’s “Go Down Moses,” Ramsey Lewis’s “Wade in the Water,” and a version of “My Lord, What a Morning” by Archie Shepp and Horace Parlan. While I have a decided leaning toward the Coltrane piece, I was also quite caught by the Shepp/Parlan version of “My Lord, What a Morning”. I have to admit that I was more than a little surprised by how subdued the piece is, given the fire and edginess that characterizes so much of Archie Shepp’s work as an avant garde player. And where the songs from Tharpe, Green, and Lewis (maybe especially Lewis…) each seem tied to very particular era, there is something a little timeless about both the Shepp/Parlan song and the Coltrane piece.

blog supreme

To go to Wade In The Water: 5 Jazz Takes On Spirituals, simply click here


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