I present you a review of a interesting project led by saxophonist and assistant professor at American University in the Department of Performing Arts, Dr. William E. Smith, and played by his ensemble: The W.E.S. Group.
A Jazz Mass is a musical work which its only goal is seeks the way to speak to the heart of all people. This is possible, because although jazz grew up in the secular world of bars, concert halls and on stages, it has strong religious roots in the deep spirituals tradition and Black Church congregational singing. To perform this purpose, and like to jazz legends as Duke Ellington, Vince Guaraldi, among others, William Smith consider the liturgy of Episcopal Church, and he merged it with jazz music. The result: a great sacred jazz composition, with a ritual structure and deep spiritual message.
A Jazz Mass consists in a work divided in eleven parts. These parts are too diverse, with a lot of influences of different modern jazz genres as hard bop, post bop, and even fusion and smooth jazz. To listen this project, is a great experience, like a musical walk in the modern jazz garden.
Members of The W.E.S. Group are: William Smith (saxophones, background vocals & bandleader), Imani (vocals), Vince Evans (piano), Corcoran Holt (bass), Nathan Jolley (drums) and David Fount (percussion). In this project also there is a horn section that consists of Kyle Funn (trumpet), Julien Lane (trombone); and background vocals Allison Bennett, William Anderson and Stacee Prigmore-Monroe.
Official website of The W.E.S. Group: http://www.thewesgroup.com