It is essential that we preserve, develop, and expand this treasured art form for our future generations by recognizing and elevating the importance of our jazz education programs in every single school across America.
- Michelle Obama
Recent years have seen increasing interest in jazz as a model for creativity across fields. Inspired by the idiom’s improvisatory core, practitioners in areas as varied as business, education, law, medicine, and sports have recognized that the qualities of spontaneity, interactivity, individuality, and cross-cultural embrace that make jazz unique in the contemporary musical world are equally important to success, fulfillment, and progress in their respective disciplines. The Jazz Creativity and Consciousness Initiative takes this thinking a step further—into the interior dimensions of human consciousness that underlie and are intertwined with creativity. Optimal creative performance is often accompanied by episodes of heightened consciousness—sometimes called transcendence, flow, presence, or “the zone”—that individuals commonly cite as among the most profound moments of their lives. The jazz tradition, grounded in deep spiritual foundations from its inception, boasts a long legacy of artists—with John Coltrane as perhaps most emblematic—who have cultivated capacities for these experiences both in their creative work and through meditation and related practices. From America’s indigenous art form and primary contribution to world culture emerges a new and expanded template for change, transformation, and leadership.
Grounded in an emergent worldview called Integral Theory, in which creativity and consciousness development is central, JCCI will work toward the following goals:
• Establishment of jazz as a creativity-consciousness vehicle in all American schools in order to foster awareness of our nation’s cultural heritage and its transformational role in the broader society.
• Expanded approaches in college and university level musical study in which jazz, world music, and consciousness development are significant components.
• Promote the growth of creativity and consciousness studies, including meditation practice, in overall higher education.
• Advocate approaches to ecological sustainability that are informed and inspired by jazz’s improvisatory ecologies—intimate connections between performers, listeners, and their surroundings.
• Celebrate jazz as an agent for transcending and healing ethnic, racial, cultural, and ideological divisions.
• Promote the embrace of jazz-inspired, integral thinking in education, the corporate sector, and governmental leadership.
• Exploration of cutting-edge research in human consciousness, including the idea of a collective, field aspect of consciousness that is enlivened in peak improvisatory performance and collective meditation practice.
Humanity has reached a juncture where solutions to the unprecedented challenges it faces will only come from full-out investigation of the farthest dimensions of human nature and creative and spiritual potential. Jazz embodies a kind of swinging between scientific, artistic, and spiritual realms that charts the educational and societal terrain of the twenty-first century.
- Ed Sarath, founder
For further information, contact Ed Sarath.