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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Welcome to Straight No Chaser, the Award-winning Podcast hosted by Jeffrey Siegel

Apr 2, 2010

It seems that most religions have Spring holidays. In fact, celebrating the beginning of Spring may be among the oldest seasonal holidays in human culture. The earliest reference we have to such a holiday comes to us from Babylon, 2400 BCE. The city of Ur apparently had a celebration dedicated to the moon and the Spring equinox which was held some time during our months of March or April.

Today is the Christian remembrance of Good Friday, leading to the celebration of Easter. It is also the continuation of the Jewish 8 day celebration of Passover. For Buddhists, spring is significant mainly for its connection with events in the life of the Buddha. Hindus celebrated Holi, a holiday representing the victory of good over evil, March 14. There is no major spring holiday in Islam.

With all of these religious events, Podcast ___ is the annual medley of jazz songs that embrace the spiritual aspects of life. Click here to here:

Lonnie Liston Smith & the Cosmic Echoes - "Let Us Go Into the House of the Lord" from Astral Traveling. A disciple of Rahassan Roland Kirk and Pharoah Sanders, electric keyboard player Smith adapted a gospel standard for this percussion heavy workout. Originally released in 1973, it received a great remastering job in 2001. The "Cosmic Echoes" are George Barron on sax, Joe Beck on guitar, Cecil McBee on bass, David Lee on drums and a percussion group including Mtume, Sonny Morgan, Geeta Vashi and Badal Roy.

Oscar Peterson - "Jesus Christ Lies Here Tonight" from Easter Suite. The little known recording reveals wonderful pathos from the trio of  Oscar Peterson (piano), Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen (bass) and Martin Drew (drums).

Keith Jarrett - "Hymn to the Endless Creator" from Sacred Hyms. Jarrett recorded an album of the compositions of Georges Gurdjeiff, which were transcribed for piano by his friend Thomas de Hartmann. For fans of Jarrett's solo work.

Babatunde Lea - "Na Iwosan (The Healing)" from March of the Jazz Guerillas. I've been turned on to his mix of spiritual jazz and African rhythms since I spoke with him last year on the release of his exceptional tribute to Leon Thomas, Umbo Weti. This comes from an earlier album, with Babatunde, Munyungo Jackson and Bill Summers on percussion, Hilton Ruiz on piano, Richard Howell on sax, and Alex Blake on bass.

John Coltrane - "Joy" from First Meditations. One of the recordings made by Coltrane late in his life, and shelved as "too far out" for years. Finally released in 1977, this was the final recordings of the Classic Quartet, with Coltrane on tenor sax, McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums.

David Axelrod - "Glory to God" from Rock Messiah. An extension of his electric work with Cannonball Adderly, this is a jazzy version of the Handel classic. Written and arranged by David Axelrod, conducted by Cannonball Adderley and produced by Ronald Budnik. Forgive the vinyl rip and surface noises.

David Chevan and Warren Byrd - "Oseh Shalom," from Let Us Break Bread Together. The core of the transcendant Afro-Semitic Experience, bassist Chevan and pianist Byrd merge spirituals with Jewish prayers and hebrew songs for a unique mixture of spiritual expression, and a wonderful ending to the podcast.  The title translated from the hebrew means "He who makes peace".

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