Jazz In The Spirit at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Teaneck, NJ is a long-running jazz/worship series. I created Jazz In The Spirit in 2001 during my tenure as music/choir director at St. Paul’s. The pastor of St. Paul’s at the time, Rev. Ingrid Fath, was both receptive to the concept of a jazz worship series and instrumental to the success of the initial planning and development of Jazz In The Spirit.

After procuring a worship and music grant from the NJ Synod of the ELCA, we launched Jazz In The Spirit as a 10-part series featuring student and faculty ensembles from the Jazz Program at William Paterson University and jazz luminaries from the NYC/NJ area. The successful launch encouraged us to continue the series and it has evolved into its current format: every 4th Sunday at 4:30 pm.

         Most importantly, the mission of Jazz In The Spirit is to recognize, utilize and promote
the spiritual and healing essence inherent in jazz improvisation.

Jazz players feel deeply with and through their spontaneous compositions and collaborations. When one is truly “in the moment” during a jazz performance, the ineffable and unspeakable are summoned into the present and this is apparent to both the players and the congregants. The elastic and “jazzy” worship format, the wonderfully appreciative audience and the nurturing and supportive congregation have sustained Jazz In The Spirit and facilitated its growth and evolution.

We welcome you to participate in Jazz In The Spirit every 4th Sunday of the month (4:30 pm) at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 61 Church St., Teaneck, NJ 07666. We look forward to seeing you. Below is a partial list of some of the renowned performers that have played at Jazz In The Spirit:


Rufus Reid – bass

David Demsey – reeds

Dan Willis – saxes

Mike Mullin – sax

Warren Smith – vibes

Joris Teepe – bass

Carrie Jackson – vocals

Takashi Otsuka – bass

Reggie Pittman – trumpet

Eddie Allen – trumpet

Kahlil Kwame Bell – percussion

Bruce Jackson – drums

Allen Farnham – piano

Cynthia Soriano – vocals

Joel Frahm – sax

Eliot Zigmund – drums

Jeff Zelnick – sax

Tim Hayward – sax

One More Once band

Mike Richmond – bass

Jonathon Peretz – drums

Calvin Hill – bass

Andrea Valentini – drums

Bradford Hayes – sax