It’s been fun reviewing Tim’s list of classic jazz standards for worship. I’ve taken the liberty of suggesting songs from his post several month’s ago as possibilities for worship during Lent and Easter. Now that our post-Easter liturgical calendar gives way to the approach of Pentecost I thought I’d make celebratory suggestions for Pentecost Sunday.
Each of the five classic jazz standards that I’m suggesting can be used just about anywhere in the service, but if I were creating a Pentecost worship experience based solely on Tim’s extensive song list, here’s how I would incorporate them into the liturgy. The first song would be set for the prelude: “One by One” by Wayne Shorter. It’s a great upbeat number and if you perform it in the style of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, it offers an opportunity to showcase drumming energy to usher in Pentecost.
For the Introit I suggest “Israel” by the late trumpeter John Carisi. It’s not as well known as the other selections but it became a jazz classic after being recorded by Miles Davis on his album Birth of the Cool. It has a nice groove to set a joyous mood for worship. If you really want to hear the song in its depth give a listen to Bill Evan’s recording with his trio.
After the New Testament reading about the Pentecost wind and fire why not play “Holy Land” by Cedar Walton. The piano introduction and interlude set up the melody nicely. It doesn’t reflect the frenetic chaos of Pentecost, rather a memorable melody inviting listeners on a journey.
After the sermon and during the offering try Horace Silver’s, “The Preacher.” Its bouncy and fun melodic framework is a great invitation for all worshipers to be preachers—proclaiming the good news of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the world.
The postlude offers a great opportunity to stretch things a bit. Joe Henderson’s “Inner Urge” will take people for a ride, whether filing out of worship or staying in the pew to catch the full force of the music. It may be a little too intense for some church members but its energy is contagious, sort of like Pentecost.
What would be your choices? Let us know.
Wild Blessings this Pentecost!