Welcome to our Sunday Jazz Site.

At a past Sunday Jazz event we read a poem by Creole scholar and poet Sybil Kein, formerly of the University of Michigan, now living in New Orleans. Professor Kein was and is a pioneering scholar of Creole culture and among her publications is a book of poetry entitled Gumbo People.

The poem, simply entitled Jazz, gives a real clear sense of the varied musical traditions that make up Jazz, and also a sense of the roots Jazz has in the gospel – in hope for a new world, a world of justice and hope. It is that theme of justice and hope that shaped the vespers reflections and prayers.

A couple of names from the poem that could helpfully be clarified:  Jelly Roll was an early (some say the first) jazz pianist and Satchmo is the nickname of the incomparable Louis Armstrong.


            From Storyville, Vaudeville, Cabarets, and Tonks

            We played Blues, Marches, Spirituals, and Rags.

            And we laid down the burden of

            Massa, slave, and bastard.

            We laid it down in sassy syncopation.

            Old New Orleans danced with

            Quadrilles, Rhumbas, Shimmies, and Grinds

            We laid that burden down.

            Jassbo and Jassebelle,

            Congo drums and Creole songs,

            We laid that burden down.

            No need to study war no more;

            When those saints go marching,

            We will be in that number:

            Satchmo and Jelly Roll,

            The ebony and the ivory,

            Playing sweet harmony

            “One Mo’ Time”!