Allen and I were awakened from a sound sleep around 1:00 this morning by the jazz riffs of a solo flutist playing in the living room. Our living room. I knew I’d left my flute out…and I know we’ve got some really crafty cats…but could they really be playing jazz? In the middle of the night?
Once I’d gained full consciousness, I realized that I’d left a jazz flute CD in my player and had left the player turned on. When one of the afroementioned crafty cats walked across the player, she turned it on. Mystery solved.
As annoying as it is to be wakened from a deep sleep hours before the alarm goes off, it was kind of nice hearing jazz mysteriously playing in my house in the dead of night. Hearing it reminded me of Dave Brubeck’s piece called “The Voice of the Holy Spirit.” The piece is, I guess you’d call it an oratorio. It tells the story of Pentecost from Acts 2.
The thing that’s so cool about the piece is that every time the Holy Spirit appears in the text, the instrumentalists break out into improvisational jazz. One time it’s the piano, another the saxophone, another time the flute. Brubeck’s thinking is that jazz is the musical form that best illustrates the moving of the Spirit…there is some basic form there, but what happens within that form is totally up-for-grabs and dependent on being fully present in the moment. As Jesus tells Nicodemus: “The wind/spirit blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.” (John 3:8)
Come, Holy sha-da-ba-doo-dah Spirit, Come!