MP3 Dennis Dewey, Bill Carter and the Presbybop Quartet - John According to Jazz
A powerful blend of imaginative jazz and creative storytelling.
14 MP3 Songs
SPOKEN WORD: With Music, JAZZ: Bebop
From the liner notes:
A few words from Bill:
When Dennis first suggested this project, it sparked my imagination in unexpected ways. Would the musicians accompany the story? Sometimes. Would we offer a musical commentary on what we heard? At times. Would we preach a musical sermon in parallel to the Gospel''s telling? Most definitely. The result is a project that blurs all of these boundaries. The careful listener will quickly realize that this is far more than a narration with some canned music "behind" it. It is a fresh collaboration that brings alive an ancient story.
Since jazz and biblical storytelling are both performance arts, the whole CD was recorded live in the studio. We didn''t rely on overdubs or engineering tricks. Dennis told the stories by heart - without any script - as he has done a thousand times around the world. The jazz quartet joined him as traveling companions in the narrative journey.
For my part, all of the music came quickly, as if created by a Wind that blows in mystery. Three tracks feature compositions that were created on the spot or from very simple sketches. The rest of the tunes were composed during a two-week flurry of February weather; at times it felt like I could not write them down fast enough. When we finally went into the studio, some eighteen months later, all of the tracks were recorded as first or second takes.
The result is a soundtrack for faith: creative musicians respond to a faithful storyteller, all in service to an extraordinary story. May the Story invite you into the Light who gives Life to the world.
A few words from Dennis:
John According to Jazz began, as many good ideas do, with a conversation over a beer - Bill and I discussing the similarities between the performance of jazz and the performance of biblical texts - each a creative process of planned spontaneity, each passionately "from the heart" (and, so, profoundly evocative), each responsible to a fixed "chart" (a storyline scripted in words/a melodic line scripted in musical notation).
How the idea grew from that is forgotten in the mists of creative evolution. Several jam sessions and a public performance later, the union of story and jazz composition was still a project in progress. The stories continued to work on the composer, and the compositions continued to work on the storyteller. Both approached the recording with an attitude of "Let''s see what happens" - a mixture of anticipation with equal dose of fear and trembling.
What happened was electric. All the experimenting had paid off. In the fallow time that led up to the recording session, word and music had begun to fuse. I approached this recording thinking of myself as an instrument in the jazz ensemble. I just wanted the story to breathe with the music. And breathe it does! The result is not just storytelling with a musical backdrop, but a great story that sings and great music that tells a story.
Dennis Dewey is known as a "Master Biblical Storyteller," who describes his art as "helping people hear the biblical stories again for the first time." He has performed and lectured all over North America and on five other continents at venues that include the National Storytelling Festival and the Joseph Campbell Festival. He has also been the Director of the Network of Biblical Storytellers.