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Spiritual Jazz!

This week's theme on Sound Travels is a rather nebulous one, about a genre that is not really universally acknowledged as one but nevertheless a trend, one that continues to this day, called spiritual jazz. I'm not the first to use it, but I like it and use it to describe a wide variety of musics and musicians.

That it have some jazz connection is crucial and for the purposes of Sound Travels, I'm looking for the artists and songs that connect to deeper, more world sounds. The artists you'll hear this week will be the jazz cats from the old days integrating global/roots influences into their convention, or world musicians who arrive through the portal of jazz modalities. Think Roy Ayers, Headhunters-era Herbie Hancock, Manu Dibango and Mulatu Astatke; in this spirit, culture meets jazz and makes vitality.

Today, I played some good examples of mainly African-leaning jazz cuts. None of this would be confused with straight-ahead jazz, but the principles are undeniably there. Overall, it sounds like a form of jazz that finds a future in an idea of its native roots or visionary future. That definitely reflects a big undercurrent of the era in which it found itself to be a thing, the 60's and 70's, musically speaking. Whether the artists have a jazz and Western background in search of African roots or African musicians finding strength in the Civil Rights and Black Power-era of African American consciousness or simply a spirit of the times, this music is reflective of artists in search of a deeper sense of self and of spirit: "Spiritual Jazz."     

Oneness Of Juju "African Rhythms"

The Pharaohs "IBO"

Bjame Rostvold & Perry Knudsen "Magonde"

Mor Thiam "Ayo Ayo Nene"

Production Manager | Radio Milwaukee