Saturday, September 10, 2005

What is Kenny G missing?

"Kenny G is an acoustic musician who plays the soprano saxophone, the instrument identified with Sidney Bechet and John Coltrane, two of the icons of jazz history." (Jazz 101, John Szwed, p21) I don't think that Kenny G is a jazz musician for many of the reasons cited by all of you in the previous post. One critic adds this thought to our discussion, "Though he claims not to be a jazz musician, Kenny G has always been regarded with contempt by jazz aficionados for his supposedly pedestrian, soulless playing." (Wikipedia) "Soulless." I don't know whether or not Mr. G is missing soul, I don't know him, but I do know that many churches are. Have you ever experienced a soulless church? Preacher? Worship leader? Have you ever heard someone saying all the right things about God and yet it was missing an was missing soul. How do we keep the soul in our conversations about God? Where does soul come from?


Blogger Constantine said...

"Where does soul come from?"

In my view--candor/honesty. Being real, yet pastoral.

It also comes from "mystery" vs. having everything figured out. "Soul" is sacramental.

Hey jazztheo. Tell us about the picture por favor.

2:33 PM  
Blogger Northern Born Southerner said...

The "soul" comes out in a true belief that is deep in the heart of the leader. What happens to a lot of pastors is faith becomes a head thing and loses the passion that can only happen in the midst of the love affair with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2:42 PM  
Blogger olympiada said...

I think soul comes from suffering personally.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Pete Gall said...

Soul comes from the edges of ourselves, where we mingle with the Lord who is forever infilling us. Soul is the tidewater, tiding inward and out, where we sway at the edges of our solid selves and the seas beyond us. The person with soul is the one who can bear evidence - in water, sand, salt or view - to the place where waves crash, clouds are born, and where all of the waste flows out.

7:15 PM  
Blogger jazztheo said...

Thanks for stopping by Constantine, how'd you pick Constantine as your identity in the blogosphere?

The picture? It is a morph between the rapper 50 cent and Kenny G. Perhaps that makes 50 G's!

I think that the difference between some music being categorized as "easy listening" and other music being "jazz," is soul. I'm appreciating all the contributions as to what "soul" is. One thing that is clear to me is that "soul" is essential to the African-American experience. While I think that "soul" is found in many cultures it is a crucial part of the history and culture of African-Americans. Therefore, the picture was a way of putting a little soul into Kenny G.

10:00 PM  
Blogger jazztheo said...

I like what everyone is saying about soul, but olympiada, I think you have discovered a core piece of "soul." As I said to Constantine, I believe that "soul" is essential to the African-American experience and I also believe that suffering is as well. While neither of these are exclusive to the African-American's, it is clear that as a group African-American's have a collective history of suffering that has resulted in a group of people having been blessed with the asset of soul.

I believe that this connects to theology. Jazz theology is about seeing living life God out of our pathos. Our deepest fears, pains, setbacks. It is about the what comes out of the via delarosa.

Thoughts anyone? What happens to our theology, teaching, preaching when we ignore suffering?

10:07 PM  
Blogger voixdange said...

"Jazz theology is about seeing living life God out of our pathos. Our deepest fears, pains, setbacks. It is about the what comes out of the via delarosa."

I would agree with you, as does Cornel West in his latest book, " Democracy Matters."

I would add that soul not only comes out of the range of emotion that you listed, but also our state of broken -ness in those emotions, our yieldedness to God when we are going through the situations that produce those emotions. Garden situations tend to be the ones that produce the most poignant "music" of our soul.

12:08 AM  
Blogger jazztheo said...

I've been looking forward to reading "Democracy Matters." It's on my "books to read pile" on my desk.

Thanks for adding the word about yieldedness. Pain without yieldedness is not much uses, but the via delarosa preceded by the prayer, "Not my will but thine" opens us up to what God is doing, the redemption and refining.

6:43 AM  
Blogger jazztheo said...


Sometimes I get lost in the beauty of your writing. Some of us only wish we could put words together as such.

First thing that popped into my mind was, C.S. Lewis' "Weight of Glory." Is this in the vein of what your getting at, if not, tell me some more.

7:59 PM  
Blogger olympiada said...

What happens to our theology, teaching, preaching when we ignore suffering?

It becomes dull, flat, and lifeless.

I have never had the privilege to ignore suffering. I was, believe it or not, born into a life of suffering, as was my mother, as was her mother. And my father was also born into a life of suffering, a different kind of suffering albeit.

That is what makes white folks 'white'. No suffering. No soul. WASP. That is what makes the American WASP.


11:08 AM  
Blogger jazztheo said...


"That is what makes white folks 'white' no suffering." Being black or white is part biological and part cultural. But suffering and; therefore, "soul" is not a race thing but a condition available to all who find that place of pathos and live from it.

great post!

8:58 PM  

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