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[Xmca-l] Notes on The Church of St. John Coltrane

Hi one and all xmcars!

I hope your Saturday is being productively non-productive, as Saturdays are usually intended to be!

I was pleasantly provoked to consider Henry's noticing of turn taking with Jazz, and considered how in the Church of St. John Coltrane, there is a fascinating blend of turn taking and overlapping of concepts that really fascinates my post-modern sensibility, if that is the organ in which I am fascinatingly sensing it.

Here we have the notion of saintliness, being overlapped with John Coltrane, a (great) jazz musician and former heroin addict now long deceased (a requirement for sainthood), whose name is John as in St. John, one of the more original disciples in terms of gospel-writing goes, in terms of origination, that is. If we want to see how saints are produced, I think this is how it goes. We are watching this in the flesh.

And notice how the painting of St. John Coltrane has the semblance of a Byzantine icon, with a golden sky, for it is the African _Orthodox_ Church. Which means we must ask what is orthodox about this?

Then we have the notion of a Bishop, Franzo King (Who I note, is now an Archbishop see: http://www.coltranechurch.org/#!about/csgz) as the founder of the Church, and how the joy of the Christian gospel is transformed in(to) music, with the Franzo King being as a kind of priest saying a mass by reciting the notes of John Coltrane with his own saxophone in John Coltrane's language, playing the exact notes as John Coltrane played them on the album "A Love Supreme" (apparently).  

(By the way, Christianity is something of an overlapping upon Judiasim, but evidently in the early days, it was required to be Jewish first before one could become Christian, but then Paul got rid of that overlap.)

I know this may be uncomfortable to talk about religion, but I'm going somewhere with this, and that is: there always seems to be someone who comes along and takes a good idea and makes it into a bad one - and I allow you to interpret that as you find it, for you are all wonderful interpreters, yet another incarnation of overlapping.

What I find intriguing is that the Church of St. John Coltrane provides a newness to what was a good idea turned bad, presumably to be turned into a better idea, in the way it takes itself seriously, despite humble beginnings. There is something kitsch about it, and yet you can tell there is authentic joy in the participants. I don't believe there is anything kitsch about joy, as joy cannot be faked. It is there or it isn't. It doesn't appear that this joy is a product of intoxicants, but that instead their joy is intoxicating, or at the least it is a little contagious! 

What is it that music does for us? it is an instrument of joy, for joy's sake. Music is a good idea.

My post is not intended to be a commercial spot for the Church of St. John Coltrane, or even spreading the "good word." Instead, if you can imagine it, my appeal is to consider how these folks have created a community that is centered around cultivating care and joy among one another and somehow _it works_.

Certainly they don't have a monopoly upon such activities. Methinks that that is the point. In the world of us, what is it that produces our joy? How do we make our music?

So please, take your turn!  :)

Kind regards,


On Friday, January 23, 2015 9:34 PM, HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com> wrote:

Larry, Mike, Annalisa and all,
I was thinking about signers when I posted my email, thinking that intonation is a form of gesture. I like the Vygotsky idea from Larry on thought as a unity of communication and generalization and wonder if it is relevant to Hutto on basic and scaffolded cognition. This email will go out later this evening (New Mexico time), since I don’t know the password where I am. I am about to take part in a weekly chanting at our synagogue. I am not Jewish (my wife is), and I don’t really understand much of the Hebrew as I chant it, but the sharing of the sounds, the music, the rhythm is certainly meaningful for me. Chanting, of course, is in unison, unlike prototypical dialog, where turns are taken. I am thinking back now to Annalisa’s post two days ago (ancient!) with a link to the church of St. John Coltrane. Jazz blends unison and turn taking. IN FACT, dialog is often marked by overlapping turns, which can indicate either contestation or agreement. Cultural differences in turn taking are interesting.