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Cosmic Jazz artists use music to uplift and heal

Harrison Bankhead COURTESY PHOTO

Harrison Bankhead COURTESY PHOTO

By Steve Furay
Special to the Michigan Citizen

“We’re trying to turn it around and show people there’s still some love and beauty in the world,” says Tony Holland of the Cosmic Music Community. “It’s not all that the media is trying to push on us; there’s still some love and beauty in the world.”

Music is more than we tend to imagine. It’s known as the art that affects people the most, and yet it exists more in spirit rather than matter. The goal of the Cosmic Music Community, an ensemble of veteran jazz musicians, is to bring “the love” back to music and combat the commercialism that dominates popular songs.

They seek to perform concerts for the youth and give them an option for better music in community. They are currently raising funds through an online campaign to help  reach the public.

“Music has always been our entertainment,” says Kenneth Green, a Detroiter and one of the community’s founders. “But at this stage of the game we have to look at it beyond entertainment and for what it really is, and that is a high gift from the most-high creator. And when we look at it that way, then we can have an understanding of using music to do other things beyond entertaining. We can use it for our well-being.”

The musicians of the Cosmic Music Community, which was established in Detroit, are accomplished professionals, celebrated with awards and accolades through years of recordings and live performances. Their first hand experience of uplifting audiences has shown them how music can erase negativity from people’s minds and set them on a positive path. They believe a positive mindset is the most important factor to living healthy and happy.

“The music is the thing that keeps us alive, keeps a lot of hope in a lot of people — always has,” says Dushun Mosley, a percussionist who resides in Chicago. “With the Cosmic Music, what we’re trying to do is get back to let people know this is not only going to heal you physically, it’s going to heal you spiritually.”

Green is a composer  who plays the piano, wood flute and mbira, which is a small African finger piano, and is considered a pioneer who has played with many world renowned artists throughout the years. Over the years, he has become discouraged by the songs promoted commercially on the radio and television. He says children are vulnerable to idolizing their favorite pop stars.

“The media so controls the mindset that is not conducive for a healthy living,” says Green. “Because of that, I knew I had to do something. And what I found is the creative music, improvised music, it brings a different attitude towards one’s life walk, if you will. It puts you in another space, it brings alternatives, it makes you question things. And when you question things, you become aware of where you’re at, and if where you’re at is not good you better change that stuff.”

“The music is for the youth because we’re trying to train people into playing the type of music that is other than misogynistic, sex, drugs, downgrading the women, glorifying bling. That has nothing to do with the notes, or the staffs or the keys, but it has something to do with how the music is projected into the atmosphere,” says Holland, who lives in Pontiac and plays saxophone and clarinet.

The Cosmic Music Community got its name through the musician’s experiences during their era of the 1960s and 1970s, when musicians like Sun Ra, Alice Coltrane and Parliament-Funkadelic were presenting their music as a spiritual experience connected to people through the frequencies of the universe. Space research agencies like NASA are known to study and measure these frequencies to unlock the mysteries of the galaxies.

Here on Earth, those frequencies can be delivered to the listeners in the rhythms and tones of the music, and jazz in particular can deliver them with intensity because of the required dedication to exploring new patterns in bright uplifting keys. They believe it is the right of the people to experience this for their health and well-being, and to be knowledgeable when music can have an opposite effect.

The science of these frequencies goes back all the way to ancient Egypt when music and sound was a tool that helped build their civilization.

“I think when I look at technology now, they’re just kind of catching up to where music had been eons ago,” says Mosley. “And not catching up, they’re still far behind, they’re still trying to have discussion about pyramids. That’s an easy discussion if you know how to deal with that.”

Though the members of the Cosmic Music Community want to avoid upsetting young listeners and being perceived as “angry old musicians,” their wisdom and experience says the commercialism of popular music is taking people away from these benefits and instead focusing on the egos of the artists with lyrics and images designed to shock and hold people’s attentions.

“It has nothing to do with the music and the people that truly are musicians have a hard time practicing their craft,” says Holland. “What we’re trying to do is just do music that we’re born to do, that we’ve been doing ever since we’ve had the wherewithal to do.”

To learn more about the Cosmic Music Community, visit www.CosmicMusic.net.

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