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Liturgical Jazz: Will Todd's 'Mass in Blue' Leads Pack Combining Improv and Choral for a Religious Experience

by Ian Holubiak   Aug 19, 2014 11:26 AM EDT

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Jazz form has taken on different incarnations throughout its lifetime, but it isn't until recently that 'choral jazz' has found its way into choirs of any stripe. For this, you can thank equal parts Latin mass musicians Lalo Schifrin and Scott Stroman and Bob Chilchott's A Little Jazz Mass and Nidaros Jazz Mass.

Will Todd's Mass in Blue has become an example of the genre, as Laura Jones at Oxford University Press Blog says, "presenting an innate fusion of jazz elements within choral writing."

Todd describes the composition as a "watershed work," which fuses together his penchant for jazz with his experiences in church and choral music.

A prominent choral composer, Todd found success with pieces such a My Lord Has Come and The Call of Wisdom (commissioned for celebrations to Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee) along with performing and recording with his own jazz trio.

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