A typology of religiously inspired jazz
In researching religiously inspired jazz with a focus on jazz which engaged with the Christian faith practice, I discovered six categories in which religious inspiration informs and shapes musical composition and improvisation through worship experiences and personal prayer practice :
These six types of religiously inspired music can also be found in popular music as well as in sacred music in the western tradition. In jazz, they manifest three sub-genres which all became established in the 1960s in North America and Europe:
Liturgical Jazz - jazz serving the liturgy, where all types can be applied in a balanced order, categories A-D are essential for the liturgy, categories E and F can be integrated.
Sacred Jazz - where religious doctrine is artistically interpreted in oratorios, concert-masses, passions - similar to the tradition of sacred music. Here the categories E and F are most relevant.
Spiritual Jazz - the individual faith experience is in the foreground, traces to worship practice can be found but are not essential and not at the heart of the artistic work. Category F is the relevant source for this subgenre.
In my research I have shown the interdependence of all sub-genres between each other with the worship experience being a common ground where all streams of religiously inspired jazz stand firmly on.
On this website I present my original music within these six categories and their manifestation within the three sub-genres, Liturgical Jazz, Sacred Jazz and Spiritual Jazz.
This research is situated at the Academy of Music and Drama at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden
in collaboration with the German Liturgical Institute at the University of Leipzig and the network for jazz and theology, BlueChurch.
Publications can be found here: