Jazz and Roman Catholic are two worlds that don’t meet up very often. Jazz has been used in other worship traditions, but the liturgical structure of Roman Catholic worship provides challenges for the free improvisatory nature of jazz. Yes, there are Jazz Masses that have been composed, but even most of those would be considered concert works and vary from the imposed structure of a liturgical celebration.
When we celebrate the anniversary of the dedication of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen on Homecoming weekend, we are including Evening Prayer on Sunday afternoon. All of the music will be in the jazz idiom and accompanied by the Kevin Myers Quartet. In order to fit the liturgical requirements for the celebration, I composed two psalms, a canticle, and some other incidental responses. We had a first rehearsal with the singers and band leader Kevin Myers last Friday. Here are a few samples from the celebration. I hope to post videos from the celebration after it is over.
When I composed the Audubon Park Psalter, my intention was that most all of the settings would be flexible enough to work in a traditional setting with organ and choir as well as a more contemporary setting with piano and guitar. While I have attempted to make recordings of the Contemporary Group at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen before, because I have been the one at the piano, it has been difficult to capture anything remotely balanced. This week, I was able to be out in the congregation, so captured the psalm while standing next to a pillar. Here’s the resulting video:
What I really appreciate is being able to hear the people sing, even though this is a new piece for them.
I also captured the psalm at the 11:00 Mass with the choir and organ: