WRONG CHORD, WRONG PEOPLE


Miles Davis is one of the greatest Jazz  trumpeters-composers of all time, but this blog is not so much about Mile’s transcendent talent as it is his keen insight, intuition and sensitivity.

For me to appreciate Jazz and be so influence by this eclectic and sometimes complicated genre of music, is a true testimony to God’s desire to give good gifts to his children. I had no musicians in my family, but as a young girl, I had an uncanny gift to be able to know harmony. I loved to sing but had no idea I would have such a love of composing, experimenting with chords and playing my guitar quite many years later. So this jazz thing continues to compel me and my appetite for the scrumptious diminished, flatted fifths and major/minor chords teased my ear. My jazz artistry really grew, working with the incredible Calabrese brothers David and Michael.

Jazz became more and more a part of me and even though I was nursed on rock.  As lead vocalist, fronting my first Christian hard rock band, The Promise with lead guitarist, Chris Durante, I wanted to fuse the complex, sophisticated chords of Jazz with the power of Rock. Chris happened to be on the same wavelength as I and we composed many enduring collaborations whcih fused hard rock with Blues and jazz, thanks to jazz drummer. Tom Hill. When I learned the guitar, the sky was the limit for me and I wrote my first jazz song a month after learning the guitar!

God must have created me to be a jazz girl because the more my ear yearned for the gorgeous, unconventionality of Jazz, my appetite was continued quenched by fining jazz artist on the wonderful Christian music network, Indie heaven, founded by Keith Mohr. At Indie heaven, independent Christian artists could network and find a platform for their music.  being  jkazz-0folk female singer-songwriter, I connected with two of Indie heaven’s amazing Jazz ladies, Celeste Talley,  a sweet songbird crooner and Kerensa Grey, whose sultry, thick ,molasses voice that set all the dudes at ease. We had our prime star Drew Davidson, making a big name for himself all over the east coast.

Though it’s been hard to find a place for my Joni-Mitchelly voice and guitar style, I expect to find my niche…some day

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And today, I couldn’t stop thinking about Kerensa’s post last year. Out of the blue, I remembered being so struck by Mile’s Davis band member sharing his experience of playing a wrong chord. Amazingly, through the myriads of old posts, I landed on that video.It really blew my mind when the player said Miles didn’t even lose his composure or make a face (like some of my past band mates would yell, belittle and deride our bandmate who played a sour chord, or lost there place in the song)  He improvised his chords,  making them fit with the off chord! That is genus.

Now, isn’t that so like our God, Our heavenly father who is the Jazz King. He never gets disgusted with us if we made a mistake, disrupts His plans or  veer of the road. As we abide in His leadership as our Leader of the band, he somehow works around our wrong chord!

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Miles Davis’ band mate learned not just an astounding music lesson that day, but a life lesson. He was blessed to sit under a gracious leader. May we who are uptight, scrutinizing and demanding of others remember that when we cover each others weaknesses, we make ourselves look gracious. It is guaranteed that everyone of us has been or will do something that looks like an idiot. My desire is to so see people as my brothers and sisters who,  like me, have praiseworthy things to find and focus on and not the bad first impression whcih stays cemented in someone’s mind. I know one thing, I will never forget this video and plan to adapt the gracious, forgiving leadership style of Miles Davis as my musical and life pattern !

SECULAR MUSIC VS SACRED MUSIC


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Should Christians listen to Secular Music?

As a teen-ager, my mind brimmed over with fashion designers-costuming and sketching creations. I planned to be a rock star when I grew up. Watching Cher and Ann Wilson fronting their groups made me desire to be a beautiful singing talent to the world. I was one of those teenagers who had no interest in drugs, partying or sleeping around. I planned to be a virgin for my husband. Fast forward eight years later, I accepted my precious Jesus Christ in a spirit-filled Pentecostal church. I was introduced to singing 3 and four part harmony with two sisters at that church.

Several years later, God had me meet with a innovative guitarist who has been one of my best friends for 27 years. Chris asked me to front his Christian rock band and I was forever changed. I had a beautiful voice, large range and could harmonize anything! Holy Spirit brought out the most amazing songs through Chris’ guitar, my voice and lyrics touching on every subject from praise & worship, to the worth of the unborn, to genocide, social issues and precious love songs. We had a pure relationship, though he had conflicts with the other band members and myself because of his controlling tendencies. Chris kept evolving musicallly, (and I went along with him) and we were composing advanced jazz and blues songs. My journey as a front woman, took me to amazing places emotionally and spiritually. Though I had to end my relationship with Chris, it made me seek Father god and Jesus even more. I grieved for the loss , but a few years later Father brought a wonderful new friend into my life who bought my first CD of my original compositions which I recorded with my first producer. He was so impressed with the quality of my voice, he came over my house with his guitar, taught me a few basic chords and left with, “Get comfortable with it and play everyday.”

To make a VERY long story short, I fell in love with the guitar and my technique and skill at composing grew sublimely quickly, writing my first spiritual song in a month! I began experimenting with different chord positions and bought a jazz chord book which led to me composing songs for my second CD and then a jazz worship Cd with my first guitar song writing partner, Chris
Years, (and many recording-performing projects with great studio producers and session musicians) later, God opened up my spirit to vast amounts of musical elements with which to compose music for His glory and for music describing events, relationships and social issues. So, with all this in mind and all my experience and joy as a composer, performing artist and prophetic worship leader, I compare musical expression to being a painter.

If God gave us a palette of about three or four main hues, ( with endless possibilities in the blending together various colors), why can’t musicians use the musical notes and chords as lavishly? There are hundreds maybe thousands of possible variations of colors in the spectrum and with the exception of a few bold and innovation Christian artists, the majority of artists on KLOVE or most Christian stations use the same chordal formula and the same stale lyrics.
Isn’t our God vastly creative and endlessly innovative? Aren’t we made in His image and with the same ability to innovate the greatest works of art and music…far above non-sacred composers and artists?

I don’t mean to put down KLOVE or any Christian station, but God’s people, who have a platform to exhibit His greatness settle for mediocrity or what has been done or follow the trends of secular radio stations play and the A&R moguls pump out. I personally find very little of the Christian music market interesting, probably because of my experimenting with compelling and captivating chords and notes!

I’ve heard Biblical scholars say that Lucifer was the most beautiful angel endued with transcendent musical talent. Ezekiel 28:13. If he was he may have had every creative idea possible on every instrument. And of course, he inspired the greatest musicians, artists and writers of out time with his rebellious and tainted influence. So…what happened to that same transcendent creativity and talent issuing from GOD through his artists? I can only think of a few modern artist like Phil Keaggy and Keith Green and a handful of classical artist with extra-ordinary giftings, but this is not usually the case.

A blogger commented on Ugochi’s post, Ese says, “I struggled with deleting my favorite rock songs from her collection” I had to struggle also because most of my favorites have that quintessence that most Christian artists I hear don’t have. Sorry to say this. It’s even harder for Christian Jazz avant-gardecollaboration auddio max 1 composers to discard their secular collection. Here’s where some of us experienced and advanced composers-artist stand. The lack of innovation and problem-solving by God’s people not only involves musical creativity but also directly affects social issues and humanitarian challenges! Another subject for another post.

In my case, to the pure all things are pure.