Jazz service - Jazzgottesdienst

Jazzgottesdienst in der St. Augustine Church, New Orleans (2007)

A jazz service is a Christian service , the musical design of which is essentially based on the performance of jazz . In Germany, church services in which spiritual and gospel songs are sung (in German translation) are sometimes referred to as jazz worship .


In 1954 George Lewis recorded the album Jazz at Vespers . [1] In the 1950s, numerous gospel groups toured Europe; some of them appeared in churches. [2] In the late 1950s, Geoffrey Beaumont experimented with youth services in Great Britain , which also included jazz-oriented music. From 1961 invited John Gensel jazz groups in his service in the Advent Lutheran Church one in New York, [3] from 1965 to his Jazz Vespers in St. Peter's Lutheran Church . [4]

In Germany, from 1957, the view prevailed in the Protestant Church that “more popular forms of jazz could serve to sensitize young people to religious content.” [5] In Hamburg-Harburg, the “first jazz service” was held in 1960 in the parish hall of the Paulus parish. Germany performed with a youth choir and members of the youth dance orchestra. A “shepherd calypso” and a “Christmas blues” were played. [6] In 1961, jazz elements were also integrated into youth services elsewhere, for example in Limburg by Dieter Trautwein , in Ottweiler or in Lahr. Kurt Rommel organized in Bad Cannstattjazz services very well attended in the cinemas; up to 2000 visitors came. [7] In Düsseldorf's Neanderkirche , Oskar Gottlieb Blarr organized youth services with the help of a jazz combo and the Düsseldorf Spiritual Studio . The probably first jazz church services in Bavaria were initiated by Joe Viera and Erich Ferstl in Riederau (Ammersee) . [8th]

At the end of 1962, Darktown Strutters in the Lukaskirche in Krefeld, on the initiative of Pastor Hellmut Coerper, helped to organize the first jazz service, which was followed by others. Not only jazz pieces and spirituals were played during the service: "At that time, instead of ringing bells on the now defunct tower , we called to the services with Dixieland sounds for several years ." [9] In 1962, Mani Planzer designed the St. Lucerne the first Swiss jazz services. The first pastors and deacons began in the GDR in the mid-1960sto open church rooms specifically for young people with jazz worship services and the concept of “worship in a different way”. [10] In Cospeda near Jena, where the Dresden Elb Meadow Ramblers performed in the church, the fire brigade barred adolescents streaming in from the crowded church. [11]

Increasingly, under the label jazz worship less jazz was presented in Germany , but mainly “hit, chanson and gospel-like music.” The Tutzing theologian Günter Hegele recommended “Bible study with Louis Armstrongas early as 1960 , but initiated a competition for the New Spiritual Song that produced songs like " Thank you for this good morning ". Joachim-Ernst Berendt severely criticized these activities as attempts to pander to them. [12]


Numerous composers wrote music that can be used in worship. Here is Duke Ellington's Sacred Music special mention that his first Sacred Concert 1965 on the consecration of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco aufführte [13] and repeated in fifty American churches, [14] but also Billy Taylor's Make a Joyfull Noice , in 1981 was also performed in Indianapolis . [15] There were also some jazz fairs, the formal structure of which was based on classical works of sacred music . The one written by Geoffrey Beaumont in 195820th-Century Folk Mass is often categorized here, but contains very few jazz elements. [16] In the Netherlands, Huub Oosterhuis and Bernard Huijbers founded the Werkgroep for Volkstalliturgie and wrote their own Advent liturgy as early as 1960, in which syncopation and other elements of jazz were used "very carefully". In 1961 a fasting liturgy and a Pentecostal liturgy followed. [7]

To come to terms with the death of his daughter, jazz musician Ed Summerlin wrote a Requiem for Mary Jo , which premiered at Southern Methodist University in 1959 . This requiem was also on his debut album Liturgical Jazz (1959), which received four and a half stars on the Down Beat and was presented on television in March 1960. [16] Standrod T. Carmichael carried out his own jazz fair in St. Louis in 1961 . [17] Lalo Schifrin composed a jazz mass in 1964, which was recorded on record by Paul Horn and in 1966 received two Grammies .[18] Critics such as William Robert Miller accused the work of eclecticism and borrowed from numerous composers as well as Hollywood effects; Only the soloist's playing is shaped by jazz. [11]

Mary Lou Williams wrote a total of three jazz fairs from 1966 onwards , and she tried in vain to get the Vatican to adopt an approving stance on jazz worship services. [19] It was followed by Eddie Bonnemere , who also wrote several jazz fairs and in the municipality of St. Thomas the Apostle in Manhattan , this could also perform regularly. [20] In 1978 the Finnish jazz musician Heikkie Sarmanto performed his jazz fair in St. Peter's Lutheran Church in New York. [21]

In Germany in 1965 a mass by Peter Janssens was performed at the Catholic Academy in Münster , which combined old church modes with jazz elements. [22] In 1966 Hermann Gehlen wrote a (short) jazz mass, which was recorded in 1969 with the Kurt Edelhagen orchestra , the soloist Agnes Giebel and the choir of the Düsseldorfer Musikverein . [23] Claus Bantzer , Kenn Cox , Jan Gunnar Hoff , Wynton Marsalis , Johannes Matthias Michel or wrote more jazz fairsErich Kleinschuster .


  • Marilyn L. Haskel: What Would Jesus Sing?: Experimentation and Tradition in Church Music Church Publishing, New York 2007, ISBN 978-0-89869-563-2.

See also


Individual evidence

  1. G. Lewis: Jazz at Vespers at AllMusic (English)
  2. vgl. Theo Lehmann Nobody Knows..., Negro Spirituals, Koehler & Amelang, Leipzig 1963
  3. Gene Santoro Myself When I am Real: The Life and Music of Charles Mingus. Oxford 2000, S. 180
  4. The Jazz Church
  5. Detlef Siegfried Time is on My Side: Consumption and Politics in West German Youth Culture in the 1960s, 2006, p. 135
  6. Daniel Scheufler: Online ( Memento from January 15, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Diploma thesis submitted and defended at the "Carl Maria von Weber" University of Music in Dresden, submitted on September 30, 2007 (PDF file, 10.8 MB) p . 40, and Detlef Siegfried Time is on My Side , p. 136
  7. a b René Frank The New Spiritual Song: New Impulses for Church Music p. 59
  8. ^ Daniel Scheufler On the development of popular sacred music in Germany between 1980 and 2000 Diploma thesis Dresden 2007 p. 39f.
  9. 50 years ago: First jazz sounds in the church (RP-Online) March 7, 2013
  10. Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk Endgame : The 1989 Revolution in the GDR Munich 2011, p. 205
  11. a b Calypso the Shepherd . In: Der Spiegel . No. 10, 1966, S. 129-130 ( Online - Feb. 28, 1966 ).
  12. Detlef Siegfried Time is on My Side 2006, S. 136
  13. From the Club to the Cathedral: Revisiting Duke Ellington’s Controversial ‘Sacred Concert’. KQED, 14. September 2015, abgerufen am 3. Februar 2016.
  14. ^ Arrigo Polillo : Jazz - the new encyclopedia. Atlantis, Mainz 2007, ISBN 978-3-254-08368-5 , p. 415.
  15. Billboard 19. September 1981, S. 68
  16. a b Sacred Blue: Jazz Goes To Church In the 1960s
  17. Tony Jasper Jesus & the Christian in a Pop Culture 1984, S. 95
  18. L. Schifrin: Jazz Mass in Concert (AllAboutJazz) sowie Modern Music for Worship Ebony April 1966, S. 78
  19. Linda Dahl: Morning Glory: A Biography of Mary Lou Williams. University of California Press, Berkeley 1999, S. Dahl, pp. 288-310. At that time there was still a percussion ban imposed by Pius X in Catholic sacred music
  20. Frederick Johnson Updating Easter, New York Magazine 30. März 1970, S. 70
  21. Down Beat 45 (1978), S. 10
  22. ^ Daniel Scheufler on the development of popular sacred music in Germany between 1980 and 2000. Diploma thesis, Dresden 2007, p. 40
  23. ^ Herrmann Gehlen: Jazz Messe 66 ( Memento from October 1, 2009 in the Internet Archive )