It is interesting to consider what makes music devotional, where the fine line is. The first time I felt very strongly about this was when I went to hear John Coltrane at the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco. When Coltrane came on stage, you were suddenly involved in a ritual. It wasn't a jazz concert anymore, it was a very powerful transformative experience. You weren't the same person leaving that place as you were when you walked in. To experience that, especially in a jazz club where there was normally drinking and smoking, was extraordinary. There was power in the music that kept the audience from getting noisy or rowdy. That's one example of devotional music happening in an atmosphere that is never considered a place of worship - even though it could be.That is Terry Riley speaking in an interview with Peter Lavezzoli in The Dawn of Indian Music in the West, which must be one of the most important and most overlooked music books published in recent years. The current newsletter of the Institute of Composing has republished an article by me titled, quite appropriately, 'What classical music can learn from John Coltrane'.
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