What is Jazz? You can go out and ask 100 people, musicians or not, and you may very well get 100 different answers. It is a term that is divisive, but a music that is concentrated and complex. Jonathan Batiste recently wrote a piece for CNN about this very subject and it makes for an interesting read. He brings his experience as a musician, composer, educator, and most of all, thinker to a subject that has everyone from Nicholas Payton to the New York Times arguing about it.
Cameron Carpenter is a bit of an anomaly. As he puts it, “I play the classical organ, but I don’t play church music or even in the church at all.” With a deep relationship to the church as well as gospel music, Carpenter wants to reinvigorate what he sees as a dying instrument. Church dwellers tend to see the pipe organ as the “Jesus Christ” of the organs while the organ synth sits in the “Lucifer” position. This is a ideology Carpenter explains he wants nothing of. He feels a disconnect with the lumbering pipe organ because as a musician you can not typically own one, so there isn’t the same inert ownership of the instrument. “We we need to do is get behind the digital organ,” Carpenter exclaims.