For several months in 2008 I wrote a blog that recalled and celebrated a long-ago, and long running radio effort called “Celebration Rock.” That weekly hour on radio had its roots in the late 1960’s and ran into the early 1990’s, beginning as a local rock show for youth in Richmond, Virginia, then moving into national syndication, and ending finally…well, go to www.celebrationrock.wordpress.com if you need to catch up with all that.

When I had said just about all that I had to say about my radio ministry, creative and far-reaching as it was, some friends encouraged me to move on, and to write about something beyond that media outreach. Thus is born this blog. While the “Celebration Rock” e-journal had a more narrow focus, this blog has my permission to be more blurry. Well, that doesn’t sound right. How about more “free,” more open, boundless, even limitless. The image that comes to mind right now is springtime in Vermont, up in the once winter-bound Northeast Kingdom, when the snows have melted with more moderate temperatures, and the cows exit the barn for the first time in months. They see the open barn door, sense the freedom that awaits as the sun shines in, ramble out, then gambol into the yard, yes, frolic ! Huge Holsteins jumping for joy! That is the freedom that writes about grace, peace, and jazz!

I retired from my Presbyterian pastorate in Upstate New York in 2007, a tad early. But it was time. I have been married to Joan since 1967, we have two adult children, and two very grand grandsons who call me Papa. God, love, and life have been very good to me. So I must reflect on “grace.” I worry a lot, nonetheless, or all the more, and thus I must reflect on “peace.” I do have a plan in mind, see, but I intend to engage in the holy spontaneity of improvisation, as the Spirit moves, and there is the jazz part, both hot and cool, the notes written and arranged, but bent, blues-like, by the heart’s soulful cries of worry and wonder.

[The graphic overhead is a frame grabbed from my bootlegged video of the first Jazz Vespers service ever held at Edinburgh’s St. Giles Cathedral in Scotland in 2007. I say “bootlegged” because I felt quite uncomfortable surreptitiously recording those moments in worship when the sax player was wailing his faithful interpretation of  John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.”

Need I note the juxtaposition of the modern sax and St. Giles’ ancient pulpit?]

My blog and welcome to it!grabbed-frame-1bmp1

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2 Responses to “About Peace, Grace, Jazz, and Me”

  1. Ed Klitsch Says:

    HEY NOW! IS THIS REALLY YOU? I ALWAYS LOVED YOUR TOUCH WITH THAT RADIO SHOW YOU PRODUCED WAY BACK…’THE SPIRIT OF JAZZ’!!! I LOVED HOW YOU LINKED THE CREATIVITY OF JAZZ WITH THE SPIRIT. NICE SHOW! THINK THAT BEFORE IT WENT AWAY, IT WAS RUNNING IN 20-23 MARKETS (?)
    THRU DENNIS BENSON & HIS PITTSBURGH GANG.
    ME? I’M IN SAN FRANCISCO STILL PRODUCING MONTHLY JAZZ VESPERS SERVICES ( OVER 30 YEARS NOW!).
    LAST 10 @ JAZZ CHURCH WEST.
    HI AND PEACE ON YOU.
    BRIGHT MOMENTS!
    ED

    1. celebrationrock Says:

      Ed, What a great surprise to hear from you, and to hear that you are still a jazz vespers guy! You’ll get a kick out of this: the last “Spirit of Jazz” program aired this past July! I guess you’ve read about its resurrection in this blog. (I’d love for you to hear the last couple of new shows. You can send me your address % jeffkellam@stny.rr.com )

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