Art, Music, & Film: February 2007 Archives

Brubeck and the Church

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So you thought I was joking--lookee what I found. Utterly fascinating.


from "Jazz Goes Back to Church"
Fr. Michael Sherwin O.P.

Brubeck reached a turning point in his religious development when he accepted a commission from Our Sunday Visitor to compose a Mass. Brubeck did not want to undertake the project. Not being a Catholic, he did not feel qualified. Yet, as Brubeck explains, the paper’s editor, Ed Murray, would not take no for an answer. "For two years he bugged me. . . . I’d kick him away like a dog you don’t want nipping at your heels, but he kept coming back." Finally, Brubeck agreed but only conditionally. "I told Ed, ’I’ll write three pieces and I want you to find the best Catholic expert to look at them and say whether they’re alright.’" Murray chose Sr. Theophane Hytrek. It was an inspired choice. "She got together a group of musicians in Milwaukee. The message came back, ’tell Dave to continue and don’t change a note.’" So Brubeck continued. The final result, To Hope ! A Celebration (1979), is stunningly beautiful.

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Jazz--A Lenten Discipline

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The title is sort of a joke--but not really. I've promised myself to try to get over my almost gut-level reaction to most Jazz. I don't like the seeming formlessness of a lot of Jazz. I need melody, something that when I hear it I recognize and can "follow" the line of and understand the development of.

By way of exercising this discipline, I decided to pick up the Dave Brubeck Quartet's mega-best-seller Time Out.

I have nothing coherent to say about the album, and nothing particularly helpful to the readers except (1) you will recognize the sound if not the tunes--it seems to have infiltrated every film of the early to mid sixties and has given rise to countless imitations; and (2) I like it. A lot. Far more than I would have thought possible.

So, knowing that Erik and other more knowledgeable about these matters stop by from time to time, this post is merely a request for references to other similar, accessible pieces. I'm not ready to leap off into the world of Keith Jarrett whose piano work gave me impossible headaches in my college years--nor am I interested at this point in acid jazz or be-bop as such. I need to get a solid grounding in things accessible before I reach beyond. And I'm afraid I do need a hook to engage me. But if you all have any suggestions for good stuff to listen to, please note them and I'll look them up.


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Vicki Carr Spirituality


Don't blame me, I can't help where inspiration comes from.

It Must Be Him

I tell myself what's done is done
I tell myself don't be a fool
Play the field have a lot of fun
It's easy when you play it cool
I tell myself don't be a chump
Who cares let him stay away
That's when the phone rings
And I jump
And as I grab the phone I pray
Let it please be him
Oh dear God
It must be him
It must be him
Or I shall die
Or I shall die
Oh hello, hello,
My dear God, it must be him
But it's not him and then I die
That's when I die
After a while
I'm myself again
I pick the pieces off the floor
Put my heart on the shelf again
He'll never hurt me anymore
I'm not a puppet on a string
I'll find somebody else someday
Thats when the phone rings
And once again I start to pray
Let it please be him
Oh, dear God,
It must be him
It must be him
Or I shall die
Or I shall die
Oh, hello, hello, my dear God
It must be him
But it's not him
And then I die
That's when I die
Let it please be him
My dear God, it must be him
Or I shall die
Or I shall die

In a short, melodramatic song we have the summary of the spiritual life of most lukewarm Christians. Or at least how it might look from outside and how it sometimes must seem to God that we react.

I sit and wait for God, praying for intervention, enlightenment, help. I spend my time doing for myself, think my own thoughts and going my own way and telling myself that I can do it alone, completely alone.

Then something happens. Great or little, good or bad, the telephone rings and I rush to it completely devoted now to the thought that this is God's communication to me. He's there, he's calling, finally I'll hear what I've wanted to hear all this time.

And no, it isn't Him, and I'm let down. I die.

If so, I die in ignorance. It's always Him. Always. In every caress of the breeze, in the noise of children playing, in the traffic in the streets, in the snow in the driveway. Not one thing happens that He did not cause to happen. And every day we meet Him in the persons of those around us. Every day.

Nothing happens without His consent, without His will. What we see as catastrophic is His will for the moment and we must recall that "all things work for the good of those who are called to His purpose."

When the telephone rings, no matter who is on the other end, it is Him. There is a task, there is a job, there is a need to fulfill. I just need to learn to hear Him on the other end.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Art, Music, & Film category from February 2007.

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