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Jazz Arrangements for Palm Sunday thru Easter

JH V3 ImageTim and I want to thank you for making our first two volumes of Worship in a New Key such a success. We’ve appreciated not only your orders, but also your kind words and stories of jazz in your church. Volume 3 is now available, just in time for Palm/Passion Sunday, Holy Week and Easter Sunday Season. With Ash Wednesday and Lent coming so early this year it can seem like Holy Week and Easter is just around the corner. And it is! When I was in the parish I remember how I savored Epiphany as an “in-between” season of respite and planning. Such is not the case this year.

Volume 3 offers the same thoughtfulness and creativity invested in our previous collections. As always, in addition to the arrangements, we offer insights and commentary about each hymn. You will find again find a helpful introduction to the collection with a comprehensive list of associated hymns for each tune. For instance, while ST THEODULPH is the setting for “All Glory, Laud and Honor” you can also use the arrangement at other times during the church year for “God is My Strong Salvation,” “O How Shall I Receive You,” and others. We also supply a “how to” section—Hymn Tune Notes. A couple of examples:

Canonbury (Ride On, Ride On in Majesty): Canonbury has been set in a jazz funk style to bring out the celebratory feel of that first Palm Sunday procession. Two different “heads” have been provided to give you flexibility. The first one can be played either as an instrumental piece or as accompaniment to congregational singing. If song leaders will be singing the melody, a set of funky horn backgrounds can be used instead. In addition, there is a separate part provided for the rhythm section instruments.

St. Theodulph (All Glory, Laud and Honor): Traditionally, St. Theodulph conveys a stately ambience to the Palm/Passion Sunday narrative. We’ve changed the meter to 6/8 to emphasize the metaphor of children singing hosannas as Jesus enters Jerusalem. The horn interlude between verses continues the feeling of celebrative praise.

Passion Chorale (O Sacred Head Now Wounded): The mournful melody and passionate lyrics seem like a perfect fit for the blues, which is the basis for this arrangement. Two different versions of the melody have been provided – one to be used as an instrumental, and the other to be used if the congregation will be singing along. The melody is set up almost like a call and response, so try having one instrument play the melody and have another add an improvised bluesy response after each phrase.

We hope you’ll want to order this set of creative arrangements. And if you do, please be in touch with us to let us know how the music was received. And, of course, we hope you’ll spread the word about Worship Jazz. One final note. All of our collections are PDF DOWNLOAD ONLY. This allows us to pass along the savings of printing and mailing expenses, as well as giving you immediate access to the files.

We hope you will have as much “fun” with these arrangements as we have had creating them. We offer them as a starting point—a catalyst for your own creativity as you empower your worshipping community to experience the wonder and joy of worship through jazz.

2 thoughts on “Jazz Arrangements for Palm Sunday thru Easter

  1. Do you use inclusive language, and if not, does the copyright allow me to re-cast the music with inclusive language?

    1. Don:

      Sorry it’s taken this long to respond to your inquiry. Our arrangements are for the music only. We encourage users to use the text in their hymn books, most of which are public domain although some are not. Hymnbooks, such as the New Century Hymnal use inclusive language. I’ve always invited worshipers to use the inclusive language of their choice. Hope this is helpful.


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