God's Mind in That Music: Theological Explorations Through the Music of John Coltrane

God's Mind in That Music: Theological Explorations Through the Music of John Coltrane

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As part of the growing literature on theology and the arts, God's Mind in that Music explores the substantial theological insight expressed in the music of jazz legend John Coltrane. Focusing on eight of Coltrane's pieces, themes under consideration include lament ("Alabama"), improvisation ("My Favorite Things" and "Ascension"), grace ("A Love Supreme"), and the Trinity ("The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost"). By attending to the traditions of theology and of jazz criticism, and through a series of interviews with musicians, theologians, and jazz writers, Jamie Howison draws the worlds of theology and jazz into an active and vibrant conversation with each other. Built around a focused listening to John Coltrane's music as heard against the background of his life and social context, and interacting with the work of a range of writers including James Baldwin, Dorothee Soelle, Jeremy Begbie, and James Cone, God's Mind in that Music will be of interest not only to those interested in the intersection of music and theology, but also to Coltrane fans, students of jazz studies, and anyone who believes that music matters.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Written with vivid attention to sound and the sacred, Howison's pages open up the spiritual and aesthetic depths of John Coltrane's world . . . Along the way, we hear many voices testifying to this uniquely American musician who continues to astonish our too-easily-established categories. Coltrane desired to 'sound' the cosmos, to reveal the mystery that surrounds us. This book is an informed act of love for a beautiful, complex, one-of-a-kind musician."

—Don E. Saliers, Emory University

"Howison has given us an original study showing the connections between jazz music and theological truths, bringing together a rare combination of musical and religious expertise. His book is a deeply personal look at the great music of John Coltrane and other jazz artists, showing how their creativity is an expression of the many facets of our humanity, from tragedies to triumphs. There is nothing quite like this in the literature. Must-reading for anyone who cares about the arts in relation to faith."

—William Edgar, Westminster Theological Seminary

"One need not be a fan of jazz or Coltrane to appreciate the enormous favor Howison has done for all those who would seek to be transformed by the good news of the gospel. Rooted in the theological tradition, careful in its attention to basic biblical themes, and highly conversant with the history of jazz and its most able practitioners, Howison's book takes us into waters that brim with musical life and joy, waters where God is making all things new."

—Christopher R. J. Holmes, University of Otago

"Through a humble and incredibly brave look at the music and life of John Coltrane, Howison manages to briefly unveil one of the ways God interacts with people, and conversely, how people interact with God . . . The wonderful and challenging beauty of this work is that just as the reader catches a glimpse of the Holy, it slips away, and like Coltrane with a fearsome yearning in his soul, playing until kingdom come, we are left with a thirst for more."

—Alana Levandoski, songwriter and recording artist

"Howison's work on Coltrane is insightful and just what you'd hope for—a deeper, wider groove, a take on Coltrane that has not been peddled to death. Read and be enriched."

—Charlie Peacock, musician and producer

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620321560
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 12/12/2012
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 250
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

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