RECAP: The Sound of Revolution – Gary Bartz NTU Troop

If you didn’t attend our May 15, 2024, “Spiritual Jazz and Meditation Jam Session,”  you missed an experience that wove together historical struggles and contemporary issues through the powerful music of the Gary Bartz NTU Troop.  Here are some highlights from our session:  

Formation and Influence

Gary Bartz formed the NTU Troop in 1969, blending jazz with African rhythms and incorporating concepts like NTU (unity), Ju Ju (spiritual empowerment), Uhuru Sasa (freedom now), and Sifa Zone (praise). These ideas are rooted in African traditions and resonate with the civil rights movements of the 1970s and today’s social change efforts.  

Musical Exploration

We delved into Bartz’s music, focusing on how he uses his compositions to reflect and comment on societal issues, personal growth, and spiritual awakening. His work is a rich tapestry that merges African cosmology and African American cultural themes.  

Mindfulness Through Music

We engaged in meditation while listening to Bartz’s music, focusing on sounds or beats as objects of meditation. We made friends with the mind to enhance mindfulness and self-awareness, allowing us to experience the music more deeply and reflect on its impact. We practiced simultaneously being aware of the music, our body/mind, and “Awareness.”  

Exploration of Medley

We explored a medley of songs from Bartz’s live performance in Bremen, Germany, each piece offering unique insights:
  • Rise: Captures the cyclical nature of life and the urgency for societal change. Lyrics like “Our Nation must rise, Our Nation will rise” are a call to action and resilience.
  • Celestial Blues: Encourages introspection and meditation, urging listeners to expand their minds and seek spiritual and personal enlightenment.
  • Incident: Based on Countee Cullen’s 1925 poem. The poem recounts a childhood experience of racism, highlighting the lasting impact of such traumatic events.
  • The Sounding Song: Uses playful language to capture social dynamics and humor, reflecting the communal aspects of life while addressing themes of identity and cultural expression.
  • Uhuru Sasa: A powerful chant meaning “freedom now” in Swahili, emphasizing liberation and resistance against systemic oppression.

Transformative Power of Spiritual Jazz

Our discussion emphasized the transformative power of spiritual jazz, showing how it can inspire personal growth and social activism. We shared our thoughts, noting the diversity and depth of Bartz’s music and its ability to resonate across different eras and social contexts.  

Our Closing Remarks

  • “Ground yourself, touch your heart. Open your voice to something bigger and share gratitude.”
  • “Find your power and unleash it.”
  • “The music exists within a broader context that ranges from mythology to astrophysics, highlighting the broader context that music provides.”
  • “The music evoked powerful memories, emphasizing its enduring beauty and significance.”
  • “Stay grounded.”
  • “Look deeper within and strive to gain knowledge of the higher being.”
  • “Nothing but gratitude for learning and listening from the discussions.”
  • “Music is the message, the deliverer of spirit. It soothes the soul and transports us to altered states of being.”
  • “Gary Bartz’s music invites us to journey through cycles of struggle and triumph, urging us to reflect deeply and act courageously.”

Upcoming Session:

If you weren’t there, you missed a powerful, transformative experience that left participants eager for more.  Join us next time to experience the power of spiritual jazz firsthand and be part of a community dedicated to personal growth and social change. Don’t miss out on the next session! In our June 19, 2024, session, we’ll explore Archie Shepp’s classic album, “The Magic of Ju-Ju.”

Also, check out other posts from this Series: 

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