One of the privileges of studying with guitar great Harry Leahey was being able to check out his library of jazz and classical LPs after my weekly lessons. As might be expected of a musician of Harry’s depth, his collection was musically significant and voluminous. While browsing through his records, I observed that many of my favorite artists liked to title their instrumental LPs with witty alliterations and made-up words like “Boplicity,” and they would pose with their axes standing next to high powered sports cars while wearing the latest threads on the LP cover.
Another more significant observation was that a few artists dedicated their music to God and the spiritual quest. Those that cited inspiration from a Higher Power included John and Alice Coltrane, Pharaoh Sanders, John Klemmer, Maurice McIntyre, Eric Kloss, Larry Young, McCoy Tyner, Kenny Gill, John McLaughlin, and Uli Jon Roth. Also, the classical masters - Bach, Handel, Beethoven - have all acknowledged the divine influence of God when composing and performing their transcendent works.
Listening to the aforementioned artists, I found their music to be stirring and more emotionally demanding. Growing up in New Jersey, I often took the train ride into Manhattan so I could frequent clubs like the Village Gate and the Village Vanguard, where I was able to see countless live performances of these musicians (at least the ones who were still alive!). Walking home from the train station after one of the artist’s gigs, I can still remember feeling different from other nights - a feeling that there is something higher than ourselves, an incomprehensible intelligence that designed the universe.
I always wanted to do a non-secular instrumental music project…God Powered is this project…With thanks to the Almighty.