Jazz Vocalist/Composer Ruth Naomi
a gifted vocalist-composer who has been at the forefront of creating
vocal jazz settings that express Christian theology for over 13
years. As a leader, she has released several highly acclaimed
recordings. Blessed with a soaring mezzo-soprano voice, critics have
praised Ms. Floyd’s music for its distinctive sound of progressive
ensemble jazz that is seamlessly blended with explicit Biblical
messages of her faith in God.
Ruth Naomi Floyd is a
woman with a mission. She writes and performs songs whose lyrics
either quote scripture or roughly paraphrase it. Unusually, however,
instead of operating in the musical area generally associated with
gospel singers such as Mahalia Jackson, Floyd is an out-and-out jazz
singer. Ruth shares, "I am grateful to God that I am able to express
my faith as a Christian in a context of music (jazz) that is one of
America's greatest gifts to the world in the arts and humanities."
Network Featured Article:
We Are The Ones We Are Waiting For!
has never been a greater time for us Christian jazzers than right
now to celebrate our musical gifts to the glory of God! But we must
open the doors to do so. The Apostle Paul's ministry is an excellent
example of this. He went from city to city aggressively preaching
Christ and only when the doors shut in an area did he move on. Of
course, there are times to wait upon the Lord, but the familiar
verse in scripture, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their
strength" is better translated as, "They that look unto the Lord
shall renew their strength".
There is a tremendous difference between "waiting" and "looking"...
waiting is passive - looking is active."
Celebrate and promote jazz in churches!
Attention all artists, musicians and newsletter subscribers! Ask your
pastor or church to have a jazz concert, jazz worship service, or
Jazz vespers service at your local church! Tell them about your
ministry playing jazz to the glory of God! If you are a fan
share with your church your love for jazz and favorite CJA network
artists - and how to contact them for an engagement!
music alive in our schools!!
THE MR. HOLLAND’S OPUS FOUNDATION (MHOF)
supports music education and its many benefits through the donation and
repair of musical instruments to under-served schools, community music
programs and individual students nationwide.
To date, MHOF has donated $4.5 million
worth of new and refurbished instruments to 751 music programs and
individuals across the country, effectively helping hundreds of
thousands of students and hundreds of dedicated teachers. In addition,
MHOF has served 89 schools in six states affected by Hurricane Katrina,
donating approximately $1.5 million worth of new and refurbished
Across the nation, school and community
music programs have been discontinued or severely diminished due to
budget cuts. The positive effects of music education on children’s
emotional and intellectual growth have been proven. MHOF sees the
importance of music in the lives of all children, and seeks to keep
music alive in our schools. There are many ways you can help! You
donate an Instrument or contribute
donations online, by phone, or by check.
For more information visit online at
or call 818.784.6787
CJA Network New Members Spotlight:
We Welcome Six New Members!
We are very proud to add four new
members to the CJA Network!
Willie Pickens - continues
to be one of Chicago’s most in-demand jazz pianists. He has performed
several times at the famed Chicago Jazz Festival, to rave reviews, and
has been the featured pianist on impresario Joe Segal’s Jazz Cruises,
where he has shared the stage with Clark Terry, Louie Bellson, and Red
Holloway, among others. He has also performed with fellow pianist Marian
McPartland, both in concert and on her well-loved NPR show, Piano Jazz.
2001 saw the release of their album of duets "Ain’t Misbehavin'" on the
Both Willie and his wife, Irma, have
been members of Hyde Park Union Church (HPUC) since the 1970s. Willie’s
arrangements of hymns, spirituals, and carols have delighted the
congregation for years. From the late 1980s through 1994, Willie and
Senior Minister Susan Johnson led a special annual Christmas service in
which Willie gave well-known Christmas music his own jazz treatment.
“Gradually, it dawned on us that we should open it up to the public,”
recalls Johnson, but she had to convince Willie to play in his trademark
volcanic style; “Willie kept saying ‘but this is church,’ and he thought
he should be more reverential while playing in the sanctuary.” In 1995,
the first Jazz Christmas—a full-blown concert with featured guest
artists—was held, and it has been growing in popularity ever since.
Guests have included Kurt Elling, Jon Faddis, Randy Brecker, and Susan
May, to name only a few.
Most recently, Willie has produced two
sacred jazz CDs - JazzSpirit I and JazzSpirit II - featuring solo, duet,
and ensemble settings featuring Gary Bartz (alto sax) and Terrell
Stafford (trumpet) reinterpreting hymns and spirituals.
In Jazz Spirit I and II, Willie
Pickens takes European canonical hymns, American gospel music, and
African-American Spirituals, and puts them into the wonderfully
strange and compelling vernacular of jazz. Mr. Pickens uses the
phenomenal range and power of jazz to magnify the unfathomable breadth,
length, height, and depth of the Divine.
Hear Audio Samples
Ruth Naomi Floyd
is a gifted vocalist-composer
who has been at forefront of creating vocal jazz settings that express
Christian theology for over 13 years. As a leader she has released
several highly acclaimed recordings. Blessed with a soaring
mezzo-soprano voice, critics have praised Ms. Floyd’s music for its
distinctive sound of progressive ensemble jazz that is seamlessly
blended with explicit Biblical messages of unwavering faith in God.
Ruth Naomi Floyd leads her own multi-faceted ensemble and her recordings
consist primarily of original compositions. Her association as the
co-founder of Contour Records affords her complete artistic freedom to
record her own works and collaborate with a diverse range of musicians.
Ms. Floyd has recorded and/or performed with such notable
instrumentalists as James Newton, Gary Thomas, James Weidman, Jay
Hoggard, Bryan Carrott, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ralph Peterson, Jr., Uri
Caine, Charles Fambrough, Julian Joseph, Craig Handy, Reggie Washington,
Matthew Parrish, Mark Prince, Ed Howard, Tyrone Brown, T.K. Blue, Bobby
Zankel and Greg Tardy.
Floyd is also a committed music educator. She teaches music at Spruce
Hill Christian School in the city of Philadelphia and she has recently
been appointed as an Adjunct Professor of Vocals in the Church Music
Program at Philadelphia Biblical University of Langhorne, Pennsylvania.
Ruth Naomi Floyd continues to make the city of Philadelphia her home
where for over twelve years she has been devoted and active in providing
compassionate care and spiritual support to people affected by HIV and
Hear samples from Ruth's
new CD and more
New York-based pianist James
Weidman is indisputably one of the world’s top sidemen.Over the years he
has played and recorded with musicians as diverse as Max Roach,
Woody Herman, Archie Shepp, James Moody, Greg Osby, Slide Hampton, Jay
Hoggard, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Gloria Lynne and blues diva Dakota
Staton. For five years he was the featured keyboardist (replacing Geri
Allen) for avant-garde saxophonist Steve Coleman and the Five Elements
and the M-Base Collective. And he was part of the Spirit of Life
Ensemble that held the Monday night spot at Sweet Basil for five years,
as well as co-leader (with saxophonist TK Blue) of the
Afro-Caribbean-Jazz quartet, Taja.
Weidman has performed at the world’s
major venues and festivals, including the
Montreux, Monterey, Newport, North Sea and JVC Jazz Festivals, Carnegie
Birdland, Blue Note, Sweet Basil, Village Vanguard, Iridium and Jazz
Standard.He has also been the accompanist of choice for some of the
world’s most celebrated
singers, including legendary jazz vocalist Abbey Lincoln (for nine
years), and Cassandra
Wilson (for two years) He has also exercised his producing chops for
Jazz singer Ruth Naomi Floyd's CD's which features some of
his compositions and arrangements, as well as his piano accompaniment.
Weidman, who displays incredible
versatility - developed over 30 years of working in
a myriad of styles states, “The more genres you are comfortable with
the deeper your understanding of music”. He also shares with his
students (he is a faculty member at William Paterson University), “the
better your technique, the better your communication. However, the
content of the communication is the most important thing. You’re really
telling a story to your audience. It’s a shared journey."
New release by James Weidman
For more information and audio samples visit
firmly in the organ tradition along with great Hammond B-3 jazz players
like Jimmy Smith, Groove Holmes, Don Patterson, Jimmy McGriff, and Wild
Bill Davis. Dan caught the Hammond B-3
bug early! It was after hearing Groove Holmes' B-3 version of "Misty,"
that Fogel was
forever hooked on the sound of Hammond organ. Fogel started piano
lessons at the age of ten, but it was the organ that really caught his
attention and affections. With his parents' help (and a whole lot of shoeshine
money), Fogel purchased his first B-3 organ when he was only 11 years
Fogel now lives in the the Atlantic City area and over the
years he has worked with such jazz notables as Pat Martino, Odean
Pope, Billy James, Eddie McFadden, Sunny Murray, Cecil Payne, Tony
Ventura, Rufus Harley, Monette Sudler and Harvey Mason. Fogel has
released six albums on his own Laughing Waters Label.
"Dan's new CD release, "15
West" was recorded live at a nineteenth century church in Ventor, New
Jersey, with no overdubs, it swings with overflowing energy. The recording breezes through nine selections with force and
eloquence. Fogel’s 15 West, while furthering the tradition, stamps the
music with his own personality as well. Nat Hentoff and Pete Fallico
compliment Dan's powerful B-3 organ with jazz guitar and drums. "15 West" will carry on the
soulfulness of Mr. Fogel into the next generation."- Jazz Improv
New release by Dan Fogel
For more information and audio samples visit
Wilson has performed and worked with numerous jazz artists including
Wayne Bergeron, Wycliffe Gordan, Shelly Berg, Steve Smith, Denis
Deblasio, Greg Bissonette, Brian Bromberg, John Beasley, Carl Allen,
Peter Erskine, Eric Marienthal, Bobby Shew, Slide Hampton, Sam Rivers,
Terrell Stafford, Dick Oats, Brandon Fields, Lew Soloff, Ron Blake, John
Pizzerelli, Dave Loeb, Steve Marcus, Jeff Coffin, Chris Buono, Dan
Haerle, Ted Rosenthal, Marvin Stamm, Fred Hamilton, Horace Silver, and
many others. Scott's primary instrument is trumpet but he also can play
also has played and recorded with the group MINDWALK, an original
5-piece music ensemble whose Contemporary Jazz sound includes elements
of Funk, Rock, Hip-Hop, and Latin. Mindwalk has opened concerts for such
diverse artists as Spyro Gyra, Acoustic Alchemy, Jon Secada, The
Rippingtons, Richard Elliott, BB King, The Yellowjackets,
Maceo Parker, Herbie Hancock & the Headhunters, Bela Fleck & the
Flecktones to name just a few. He was also the music director,
performer, clinician, and consultant for Disney World.
currently teaches music at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah. He has written
two excellent books on Jazz Instruction: "The Ultimate Jazz Tool Kit"
and "The Ultimate Music Workbook". Wilson is also an excellent arranger
and has charts/arrangements for Big Band and ensembles available.
For audio samples and more information visit
- is an
organist from Sweden who has a very unique concert format - traditional
church organ with saxophone! Teaming up with Hakan Lewin on sax these
two have done concerts all over Europe (and several in the USA as well!)
Their concerts in churches and arrangements prove that even in a more
traditional setting with a church organ that jazz can provide an
effective spiritual punch!
If you have never heard a traditional
pipe organ playing jazz with great sax you simply must hear this
material! In "Freedom- The Vision" they use both church organ, Hammond
B-3, and Sax. The other two CD's, "In My Solitude" and "Ellington
And More" are recorded using church organ and sax. We are very proud to
add another CJA Network member from Europe!
For audio samples of
his recordings and more information visit
Other CJA Network News!
Patty Peterson -
Patty Peterson is returning to the
stage!!! As many of you know only a few months back Patty had to
have emergency surgery (an Aortic Dissection) on her heart. It is indeed
a miracle that she survived at all! Patty will also be talking about her
return to the stage this July 29th when Patty, her family and friends
perform a concert at the Fitzgerald Theater in St Paul to benefit the
Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.
Details of the show can be found at
is very grateful for all the prayers and support and we are very
thankful that she is still with us!
Peggy Duquesnel -
new CD entitled, “Divine
Light”. Teaming up with Peggy is pianist Steve Hall and Bankbeat
Productions! Audio samples can be heard at
Peggy also recently appeared in concert with the "Peak Experience All
Star Band" to help benefit the
California Jazz Foundation. What is the
California Jazz Foundation? It is a non-profit organization, formed in
January, 2006 to help jazz musicians in need. It is the goal of
the foundation to assist jazz musicians (and others who have made a
substantial contribution to jazz) who are uninsured or underinsured and
are in need of medical assistance which they can’t afford, directing
them to the appropriate medical professionals and medical services, and
to help those who find themselves in a financial emergency due to a life
crisis. For more information visit
Pat Coil -
Jazz pianist Pat Coil
been very busy teaching courses at the Jazz Workshop in Nashville, TN.
He's also on the jazz faculty at Middle Tennessee State University teaching jazz piano & combos, and at Brentwood Academy in Brentwood,
TN. Pat continues to do studio work, and his sextet has a new CD coming
out soon. (We will keep you posted! )
Louie Bellson -
Six-time Grammy nominee
drummer-composer Louie Bellson recently received the “Living Jazz Legend
Award” from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington,
D.C. Other recent events include "A Tribute to Jazz Legend Louie
Bellson” performance at the Savanna Jazz Club in San Francisco. Word is
Louie Bellson will collaborate with old friend Clark
Terry on recording their next CD...we will keep you posted!
Chuck Marohnic -
recently performed in the Washington/Baltimore area where
he played a jazz worship service at Christ Crossman UMC in Falls Church,
VA. AnnaMaria Mottola, music director, and Pastor Mochel Morris
had arranged a four week series of Jazz and Theology called "Swingin' in
the Pocket". Chuck had some excellent musicians joining him from
the DC area, Cyndi Frame, vocalist, Glen Dewey, bass and Frank Russo,
drums. Chuck also was invited to be a performer/clincian at the Interim
Ministers Conference at the Baltimore Maritime Center where he performed
in 3 worship services and 2 workshops.
David Arivett -
Pianist/Composer David Arivett has a new "Jazzed In Church" series of
songs/arrangements specifically designed for use in church, vespers, or
sacred concert. David keeps very busy as the CJA Network Founder, just
finished a new CD, "Jazzed And Glad" and continues to celebrate his
musical gifts by using jazz in worship services and concerts. To hear
audio samples visit
Justo Almario -
After wonderful, fun filled, and blessed
European performances with Andy Garcia and Grammy Award winner Andrae
Crouch, saxophonist Justo Almario and his Quartet will be back home
performing in the Hollywood area at the Hollywood Studio Bar And Grill.
The quartet consists of: Rick Zunigar - guitar, Max Almario-
drums, Carlitos del Puerto - bass, and Justo Almario - Sax, flute,
Lance Bryant -
Saxophonist & vocalist Lance Bryant
recently performed with his jazz Quintet at
Andover Baptist Church in Andover, Maryland. The concert also featured
gospel music sung by the ABC Unity Choir and special guest and local
gospel vocalist Darlene Wynn.
Pete Malinverni -
The jazz pianist
recently performed a
Jazz Vespers service entitled, "Joyful!". The evening featured
music for Gospel Choir and Jazz Ensemble as well as the Devoe Street
Baptist Church Choir
and guest soloists at the St. Albans Congregational Churchin Queens, NY.
He also performed with his jazz trio at the Watercolor Cafe in
As you can see our network artists are keeping very
busy - to the glory of God!
Food for the jazz soul
- Recommended reading.
- A Vision For The Christian Arts - Steve Turner. "Turner, in this
well-rounded and thoroughly biblical book, issues a compelling
invitation to everyone in the creative community to move redemptively,
as salt and light, into the world of the arts precisely for Christ's
sake" - Michael Card
The Heart Of Jazz - Grossman/Farrell "...true jazz
played with feeling and inspiration seems to me more truly an act of
worship than singing some of the religious songs I learned back in
Sunday School. There's nothing wrong with those songs but a lot of them
only touch our surface feelings...life is so big and wide and deep that
you have to go beyond what's superficial..."
Ellington: A Spiritual Biography - Janna Tull Steed.
This book focuses upon the underlying
spirituality behind the music and personality of "the Duke"!"
The Rise Of Gospel Blues - The Music Of Thomas Dorsey
In The Urban Church - Michael W. Harris. "Delving
into the life of the most prominent person in the advent of the gospel
movement, Harris illuminates not only
the evolution of this popular musical form, but also the thought and
social forces that forged the culture in which this music was shaped".
Smooth Pizzazz Radio! No "Snooze Jazz"
Pizzazz...Jazz with Pizzazz!
Just a few clicks away is an internet radio
station containing nearly 500 tracks from top jazz artists.
Broadcasting all over the world 24/7 Smooth Pizzazz has the most
complete collection of jazzed up hymns, sacred jazz, and spirituals
you will find anywhere! Its free so what are you waiting for? More
All the Jazz Educational
resources you need to take your music to the next level!
All the charts and resources you need to
more inspirational jazz in church, concerts, and studio!
exploring the connection between God, creativity, spirituality, and
imagine: a joyful Jesus! Haven't we had enough of grim
Celebrate Today And Be Jazzed!!!