Jazz and Faith

Cornel West writes,

Jazz is not just a music but “a mode of being in the world,”  It is “an improvisational mode,”suspicious of “either/or” viewpoints, dogmatic pronouncements, or supremacist ideologies. . . . The interplay of individuality and unity is not one of uniformity and unanimity imposed from above but rather of conflict among diverse groupings that reach a dynamic consensus subject to questioning and criticism. As with a soloist with a jazz band, individuality is promoted in order to sustain and increase creative tension within the group—a tension that yields higher levels of performance to achieve the aim of the collective project. This kind of critical and democratic sensibility flies in the face of any policing of borders and boundaries of “blackness,” “maleness,” “femaleness,” or “whiteness” (Race Matters).


One thought on “Jazz and Faith

  1. Brilliant. I love jazz, but I admit I only know the very basics about it. I love the description of individuals creating tensions that yield higher creativity for the collective. And I love that, when I listen to jazz, as I toodle along in my head, the landscape has a steadiness to it while the melody is never the same twice. It takes a lot of courage to be a new melody, to find your way through the changes, to inspire and challenge others. Here’s to learning to live courageously.

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