Spring 2007


                                                                                       CJA Network celebrates 5 year birthday!                   

Hello and welcome to the Spring 2007 issue of the Christian Jazz Artists Network Newsletter! The Christian Jazz Artists Network is now 5 years old! We are excited to see how our network continues to grow and how our artists celebrate their musical gifts! As Christians we also celebrate at this time of the year the risen Christ as Lord! We wish for everyone a wonderful Easter season!

I am a firm believer in Celebration! In fact, encouraging others to celebrate their musical gifts is one of the top priorities of the CJA Network!  As our community of jazz artists and fans continues to grow I am thrilled to see Christians celebrating their musical gifts by using jazz more and more in both church and secular settings! The Good News and the gift of jazz music is being shared and people are getting jazzed about it!  David Arivett - CJA Network Founder

Celebrate Today and be Jazzed!

Many people assume that Christians live rather dull lives. Author Philip Yancey once observed that, “Rightly or wrongly, [many people] see us Christians as restrained, uptight, repressed—people less likely to celebrate vitality than to wag our fingers in disapproval.”  Where did we get the reputation for being such party poopers? Answer... from displaying the party pooper mentality,( much like the elder son had in the Prodigal Son story!) Everybody was celebrating and dancing to the music except for him!

St. Iraneus said, “The glory of God is a man fully alive.” Jesus himself was a man fully alive. He loved good company, good food and good times which would have included music and dancing (see Luke 7:31-36).  What Would Jesus Do???  Jesus celebrated life. So, why aren't we His followers celebrating??? Read more>>>

Attention Instrumentalists! - Big Phat Band Contest!!

Gordon Goodwin is one of the premier Hollywood writers these days and his "Big Phat Band" has become quite prolific as one of the top big bands out there made up of all the best Hollywood studio players.  Gordon has a contest on his website - you download an MP3 of his band playing the solo section from one of his tunes - without the soloist. You record your own solo over his tracks, and upload it for all to hear. Finalists are determined by the number of "thumbs up" votes a solo gets. Winner of the finalists gets their solo on the next Big Phat Band recording. Anyway - ya, a little crazy - but it's all fun, and if you've never heard this band, you're in for a REAL treat.  More info here!

Michael Brecker passes away...

We were all very saddened to hear of saxophone great Michael Brecker passing away recently Many of our network members knew Michael very well and had played music with him either in the studio or onstage. He was indeed a major influence as a jazz saxophonist and he will be missed! Our prayers and condolences go out to his family at this most difficult time. Read More >>>

CJA Network New Members Spotlight

  Louie Bellson

Legendary jazz drummer Louie Bellson now a member of the CJA Network!

We are very proud to have legendary jazz drummer/composer Louie Bellson join the Christian Jazz Artists Network!

Referred to by Oscar Peterson as “one of the musical giants of our age”, Louie Bellson has expressed himself on drums since age three. At 15, he pioneered the use of the double bass drum set-up!

He has performed on more than 200 albums as leader, co-leader, or sideman with such greats as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Woody Herman, Norman Granz’ J.A.T.P., Benny Carter, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Dizzy Gillespie, Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz, Hank Jones, Zoot Sims, Sonny Stitt, Milt Jackson, Clark Terry, Louie Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Shelly Manne, Billy Cobham, James Brown, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Joe Williams, Wayne Newton, and Bellson’s late wife Pearl Bailey.

Louie Bellson replaced Sonny Greer in the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1951. He left in 1953 returning in 1956 and once more from 1965-66. His contributions to the Ellington repertoire include Skin Deep and The Hawk Talks. He also performed with Ellington on the classic "Concerts of Sacred Music"; on the stage production "My People"; and on the movie soundtrack of "Assault on A Queen".

As a prolific creator of music, both written and improvised, his more than 1,000 compositions and arrangements embrace jazz, swing, romantic orchestral suites, symphonic works and ballet. As an author, he has published more than a dozen books on drums and percussion.

In 2002 the Ellington-inspired “Sacred Music of Louie Bellson”, which combines the voicings of symphony orchestra, concert choir and big band, was performed at Stanford University and Emmanuel Baptist Church. It has been deemed “a masterpiece” by friend Tony Bennett.  Other engagements that year covered trips to Switzerland, Canada and the Caribbean. His fall tour included a jazz cruise sponsored by Jazz Times magazine and a week with his quintet at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago.

Even more amazing is that Louie is still playing amazing drums...and he's in his mid '80's!!!! He recently performed at the Drummers for Jesus Conference as well as various concerts elsewhere. There is much more, ( including amazing "live" movie clips of Louie playing drums) you can find here!

 Other new CJA Network members...

The Still Time Band   

We are very happy to introduce the Still Time Band from the UK. They have a brand new CD "The Gospel According To Gershwin" and have a very unique presentation of the gospel using Gershwin tunes! "Christian Jazz for evangelism, worship, and enjoyment" is their motto. 'The Gospel According to Gershwin' is one of The Still Time Band's most popular show formats to date - with performances for The Salisbury International Art's Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Methodist Central Hall and the Greenbelt Arts Festival to name but a few. It is now an award winning radio show and a unique double album that combines classic Gershwin songs, a special arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue and the smooth sound of The Still Time Band. More info here!

Jeff Newell

While Jeff Newell delights music lovers with his distinctive interpretation of jazz, he continues to enhance and develop his sound - a lifetime endeavor for a true professional. Jeff has played on stage or recorded alongside such jazz names as Ron Carter, Cedar Walton, Phil Woods, Charles Earland, Houston Person, Brian Culbertson, and many others.

That critically acclaimed sound embellishes the Jeff Newell Quartet and The New Trad Octet, where he is able to share his wry sense of humor and distinct jazz saxophone sound on original compositions as well as on contemporary arrangements of jazz standards.

 Jeff was a part of the music ministry at Brooklyn's New Baptist Temple in 1996, serving as worship leader and Coordinator of Music and Worship from 2000 to 2005. Newell continues to share his musical knowledge as a faculty member at the American Conservatory of Music and is currently the Coordinator of the Jazz Faculty at the Brooklyn Music School, where he teaches woodwinds, jazz improvisation, and coaches jazz ensembles. More on Jeff here!

Rich Severson

Originally from the L.A. area, Rich Severson has been playing professionally and teaching guitar for over 30 years.  His education includes years of college and private instruction with a variety teachers including Mitch Holder, Ted Greene, Joe Pass, Charlie Shoemake to name a few.  Rich has had the opportunity to work with other great artist/authors like Tommy Tedesco, Joe Diario and Ted Greene.

Rich performs at venues as a solo guitarist, with his jazz trio, or with quartet/quintet or 11 piece ensemble. In addition, for over fifteen years Rich has been very active playing guitar in church. Besides serving as the musical director and guitarist at Northside Christian Church in Fresno, CA since 2003,

After teaching at GIT/Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA, Rich published his own home study guitar school curriculum  www.GuitarCollege.com  which has helped over 10,000 students improve their playing.  More on Rich here!

 West Coast Network Members News

Alex Acuna recently performed in Australia at the Sydney Festival in “Noite Brasil” with Oscar Castro-Neves, Airto Moreira and friends. He also played in Peru at the Corazon Conference 2007 at Iglesia Camino  de Vida...Then back to the USA for concerts with the Latin Jazz group Tolu... Justo Almario also plays in the Tolu group! Alex has a new Instructional DVD! Alex takes you on a journey to reveal his favorite rhythms and demonstrates how they apply to the drum set and any drumming/rhythmic vocabulary. Included on the DVD are "must see" performances with his new Jazz group Canela featuring Abe Laboriel Sr., Patrice Rushen and Justo Almario, as well as others make this DVD both entertaining and informative. Over two hours of total content are filmed in High-Definition and Digital Surround. More info here!

Several of our CJA network members, Ron Brown, Justo Almario, Bill Cantos, along with Kirk Whalum and others recently performed  and taught workshops at the Music Arts Revival Movement Conference March 20th - March 22 in Pasadena, CA.  Friday evening was Gospel Jazz night with Kirk Whalum and Ron Brown blowin' saxes! Justo Almario played his sax Saturday evening, and Sunday evening everybody combined for a great finale...

Keyboardist Rob Whitlock recently performed a ' Sketchin' Concert at the Miami Dade Community College ( Miami, FL) Joining Rob's B-3 organ was Ed Calle  - Sax , George Mazzeo - Drums, Mike Di Liddo - Guitar, Rick Doll - Bass, and Bob Whitlock - Guitar. He also played in concert with Joe Chambers in San Diego...More on Rob here!

Peggy Duquesnel recently performed with "The Peak Experience" jazz quintet for the 7th Annual Newport Beach Jazz Party the Marriott in Newport Beach... more on Peggy here!

Bill Cantos recently performed at the KICKBACK CAFE in Tokyo, Japan!  Bill served up a mix of jazz and gospel, featuring music from his new CD "LOVE WINS": NEW STANDARDS FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM. The CD "LOVE WINS" will be released in Japan by King Records in May - a new pressing of the album with an all-new bonus track.... Bill has upcoming performances at the Jazz Bakery...for more info on Bill visit here.

 East Coast Network Members News

  Deanna Witkowski...

Pianist/composer Deanna Witkowski recently performed "Moving with the Spirit: Jazz Freedom in Church, at Saint Peter’s Church in New York City. Joining Deanna was Jazz Pianist Mary Lou Williams biographer Dr. Tammy Kernodle. Witkowski presented, "Moving with the Spirit: Jazz Freedom in Church", an evening devoted to the sacred jazz works of both Mary Lou Williams and Witkowski. Tenor saxophonist Peter Brainin, who worked with the late pianist Hilton Ruiz in several performances of Mary Lou’s Mass, and bassist Ike Sturm, (CJA Member!) who is also Assistant Director of Music for the jazz ministry at Saint Peter’s, joined Witkowski in musical performances featuring Williams’ and Witkowski’s sacred jazz. Kernodle addressed Williams’ contribution to the redefining of the Mass in the post-Vatican II years, and Witkowski discussed how she has used her compositions in a myriad of denominations and worship scenarios. More on Deanna here!


  Pete Malinverni

Jazz Pianist Pete Malinverni continues to keep very busy...the jazz pianist is working on a new project, a quintet recording for Reservoir Music featuring Tim Hagans, Rich Perry, Ugonna Okegwo and Tom Melito.  He also recently performed a solo piano recital at the FAZIOLI PIANO SALON in New York City... More On Pete here!

   Ike Sturm

Bassist Ike Sturm recently performed at fun night at Saint Peter’s Church In New York City. Ike played along with Alan Ferber’s nonet featuring Lee Konitz and Clay Jenkins. This is an annual benefit for The Jazz Ministry at Saint Peter’s. There were many many other groups who participated. There were opportunities for some open jam sessions as well!  Ike also played with Deanna Witkowski at St. Peters in several performances Of Mary Lou's Williams Mass... More on Ike here!


  Cyrus Chestnut


Jazz Pianist Cyrus Chestnut recently performed with his trio at the Jazz Bakery in Culver City, CA. He also has upcoming concert/seminar with his trio in at the Covenant College in Chattanooga, TN. Other dates include performances at Hillsoboro College in Hillsboro, MO., and Maclellan Performing Arts Ctr - Lookout Mtn, GA. More on Cyrus here!

Southeast Network Members News


   Chuck Marohinc


Jazz Pianist Chuck Marohnic recently started a Jazz/Art Home Vespers series that kicked off in Louisville, KY  February 11, 2007 with a quartet of excellent players.  Chuck's plan is to feature various jazz artists, both local and national every 4-6 weeks. The primary intention is to offer creative artists an opportunity to share their creativity with other artists in a spiritual setting.  In addition to performing, the artist is also encouraged to speak of his/her own spiritual journey. Dialog with the people in attendance is invited... Chuck also continues to hold concerts, clinics and worship services with all the members of  Music Serving the Word Ministries ... In May Chuck will be at the Interim Church Ministers Conference in Baltimore, MD where he will offer a clinic on Integrating Jazz and Improvised Music into Worship...More on Chuck here!


   Pat Coil


Jazz Pianist/Producer Pat Coil has a new  Sextet and has just recorded a new CD, and it will soon be available. Besides Pat on piano the CD features George Tidwell - trumpet, Barry Green - trombone, Mark Douthit - tenor sax, Jim White - drums, and Craig Nelson - bass...Pat is now teaching jazz piano & combos at Middle TN State University. This school has a great jazz faculty. For more info on the school visit here! More on Pat visit here!

Midwest CJA Network Members News


Saxophonist/Arranger John Carlson recently was the winner of the Indie Heaven Momentum Award in the "Christian Jazz Artist of The Year" category...John also has a new CD release "Expressions of Instrumental Worship"... More on John here!


Pianist Composer David Arivett has been staying very busy arranging, recording, and writing charts for his new "Jazzed In Church" series of arrangements/charts. The new songs/arrangements are targeting churches that want to integrate more jazz into the church.  David's new CD release "Jazzed & Glad" is getting rave reviews from other musicians and fans... More on David here!


Other news...

Women In Jazz Festival at “The Jazz Church”

(Saint Peter’s Church)

April 20-22

619 Lexington Avenue (at 54th Street), New York City

International Women In Jazz (www.internationalwomeninjazz.com) and Midtown Arts Common will present their first annual jazz festival with a photographic exhibit of women musicians, live jazz jam, performance etiquette workshop, “What Is Jazz?” workshop for youth, concerts featuring dynamic bands led by women jazz musicians and a major concert Saturday evening featuring the renowned vocalist Ann Hampton Callaway. Deanna Witkowski will perform with her quartet and there will be a Jazz vespers service as well! For more info visit here!

Great Quote for Easter...

"So many people claim to believe in the Resurrection, and yet it means so little to them. It has no effect in their lives. It is not enough to celebrate Easter and say “Christ is risen!” Indeed, it is useless to proclaim it at all, unless at the same time we can say that we too have risen." -- C. F. Blumhardt

DDevotional by

 Rev. Lowell Grisham


 2 Timothy 2:14-26

"...avoid wrangling over words...  Avoid profane chatter...   Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.  And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome..."

It is obvious that the congregation to which the letter titled 2 Timothy is addressed is a congregation in conflict. With warnings and encouragement the author tells them to stop their complaining and conflicts.

A friend of mine who is a pastor showed me her wristband yesterday.  It is a purple wristband that says "no complaints" (or words to that effect).  Another pastor in Kansas City came up with the idea.  You wear the band on your arm as a reminder not to complain.  The challenge is to go 21 days without complaining.  If you catch yourself griping, you move the wrist band from one arm to the other and start the count again.  On the website of the congregation that started the "no complaints" wristbands they list the names of 20 members who have successfully accomplished 21 days without complaint.

It's a very Benedictine idea.  In his famous rule for communities, Benedict had much to say about grumbling.  He's against it.  Maya Angelou is often quoted for her saying, "If you don't like something, change it.  If you can't change it, change your attitude.  Don't complain!"


Rejoice, rejoice , and again I say rejoice!


As you can see Christian Jazz Artists are very busy celebrating their gifts!

Celebrate today and be jazzed!
E-Mail Us Here 
Your comments and suggestions are always welcome! click here

        This week

  1. Louie Bellson Joins CJA
  2. Celebrate Today & Be Jazzed!
  3. Welcome New Members!
  4. West Coast News
  5. East Coat News
  6. Southeast News
  7. Midwest News
  8. Other News
  9.  Jazz Education
  10. Charts
  11. "Jazzed In Church" Series
  12. Devotional

Having Trouble viewing this e-mail?

For online version visit here!


Smooth Pizzazz Radio

        More info here!


















Great Arrangements



















New series of arrangements:



 "Jazzed In Church"

More info here!


















    The "Jazz Ed" Page

Check It Out here!















Music Pad

MusicPad Pro with Stand

         More info here!


Rejoice, Rejoice, and again I say rejoice!

Highly Recommended reading..

.Many great articles exploring the connection between God, Jazz, and spirituality can be found here!

Many other relevant  articles on Jazz Music can be found here!