THE GARDEN OF GOD
CONT., page 3
As we saw in Cursed Time and Blessed Time, 1920 and 1996, the other part of the curse on America in 1920 had to do with music. The ongoing deteriorating effects of the Roaring Twenties with its jazz music was clearly prophesied in the names of the sons of Abraham’s Canaanite wife, Keturah. Most striking, Abraham had already made his servant, Eliezer, swear that he would not take a wife for his son, Isaac, from the daughters of the Canaanites. The ill consequences of this were obvious to Abraham; yet after Sarah died, this is precisely what he did for himself, and the ill consequences of that act by the father of faith were to be long lasting! (We will look at another patriarch who did likewise, with equally ill and foreboding consequences.)
We have just noted that the women’s rights movement, which has effected the Curse of 1920, was a product of the temptation of women’s activism initiated by her participation in the abolition of slavery for the black man. That activism unleashed a militancy and quest for equality that has never since been satisfied, and will never be satisfied. We saw that the black man from Africa, the “snake kingdom,” afforded the element of the serpent deceiving the woman. Now as we consider the second part of the curse – jazz music – we will find that both of these elements of the woman and the black man were once again equally present and remarkably evidenced.
Roaring Twenties jazz music was a direct product of the black culture, originating from the preceding blues music that was a combination of African music with its chants and musical structure that was steeped in witchcraft and Voodoo which the slaves brought with them (more on this to follow), and Western/European instruments and ideas. Not only was jazz music a direct product of the black culture, but it had an exceptionally seedy beginning, coming out of the most decidedly decadent city and area in all of America at the time (which is still somewhat true today).
Jazz, which as we have previously noted means “sexual intercourse,” and more specifically outside of marriage, is well named, for its beginnings came in large part from the only legalized red light district in American history (until recent decades in parts of Nevada). Jazz was spawned in New Orleans, Louisiana, the home of equally decadent Mardi Gras, which from its earliest days was a place where vice and crime flourished. As the only city in America to have legal prostitution, this tells a great deal about the city in general. And, the part of New Orleans that contributed most to jazz was in fact the red light district called Storyville. Many claim that Storyville was the birthplace of jazz.
By 1900 there were 230 houses of prostitution with over 2,000 prostitutes in Storyville. The houses afforded a raucous atmosphere created by seductive women, gambling, alcohol, and mood-altering music. That music was jazz! As related in one account about Storyville, the jazz music created in the brothels served the same promotional and preparatory function as did the alcohol and sex-oriented dances – to help get the men ready for the main purpose for being there. By its very setting and purpose and name, this is still the goal of jazz, as well as its offshoots. Rock and roll is simply a son of jazz that carries on in the way of its father, evidenced in part by the fact that both of their names have the same meaning – intercourse. Thus in the spirit of its origin, this music, and its sons hard rock and heavy metal, has been instrumental (a most appropriate word to use here) in tearing down the moral fiber of America. Look at what the music of the sixties led to – free sex! As clearly evidenced by its results, rock and roll was simply a product, an extension, of Storyville jazz, accomplishing the very purpose for which its founding music was first created. The curse goes on! Satan knows exactly what he must do to corrupt man.
In 1917, out of fear of rampant venereal disease (for which a hospital had to be opened in town to respond to the resulting epidemic), Storyville was closed down by the Navy. But already, jazz had been spawned out of this cesspool and had begun to spread to other parts of the country up the Mississippi and elsewhere, most notably to the speakeasies of Chicago and New York.
But in order to understand the full picture of the origins of jazz and the black culture of New Orleans, one has to include another most influential element – the practice of Voodoo! The blacks and Creoles of New Orleans were not so much the slaves who worked the fields of their masters and sang spirituals, but were free men who practiced a religion that was an amalgamation of Catholicism and African Voodoo. We will begin by quoting from an historical account found at http://members.cox.net/mark.watkins/nawp2027.html .
Voodoo originated in the African kingdom of Dahomey (now the Republic of Benin). Vodu was the region of the Dahomeans. The word vodu and its various forms - voodoo, voudou, vaudau, even hoodoo - encompassed all aspects of the religion, including the gods, the cult, the cultists and the rituals. One of the primary gods was Zombi (also called Damballah), which was a snake - usually a giant python. Among other things, the snake-worshippers believed that the first man and woman on earth were blind until the serpent gave them sight. The Bantu word zumbi means fetish, and the voodoo cult involved beliefs in sorcery and black magic.
The first organized voodoo ceremony in New Orleans is said to have taken place in an abandoned brickyard on Dumaine Street. It was probably presided over by Sanite Dede, the first of the great voodoo queens. (Voodoo was a matriarchy. The witch doctors and kings paled in comparison to the strong queens - always free women of color, never slaves - who reigned over the rituals.) Repeated police raids on the brickyard drove the cultists out to Bayou St. John and Lake Pontchartrain. In 1817, the Municipal Council, fearful of voodoo-inspired slave uprisings, outlawed slave gatherings except on Sundays and in officially designated and supervised areas. Congo Square was one such legal meeting place. (Later renamed Beauregard Square, the plaza in front of Municipal Auditorium in what is now Armstrong Park is the old Congo Square). For many years the slaves gathered each Sunday afternoon in Congo Square, chanting, beating their tam-tams and dancing the Calinda and Bamboula.
Congo Square drew large crowds of gawkers, but the activity there was mere window-dressing. A pretty picnic compared to the grotesque and orgiastic illegal rituals that took place around the bayou and the lake. Most people in town knew it, and when word spread about a voodoo to-do on St. John's Eve, the roads leading to the designated site were clogged with the 19th century version of bumper-to-bumper traffic.
You will notice here two unmistakably relevant issues. First, the primary god of Voodoo was the serpent, and they believed that this serpent gave the first man and woman sight. This of course has direct and clear identity with the serpent in the Garden that promised likewise – “in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” The serpent they worshiped was unmistakably Satan, an apropos testimony coming from Africa, the “snake kingdom.”
Also, you will notice that it was a matriarchal religion (a variety characteristic to New Orleans), which means the women ruled. Is this not precisely what took place in the Garden of Eden, and the equal intent of the women’s rights movement? Having Satan as the common source of both Voodoo and the women’s rights movement, the emphasis was and is a rebellious matriarchal government. And look at what this kind of government does to the home. It displaces the male from his god-given role as head, demoralizing him, and causes him to be nothing more than a drone who skips around from woman to woman trying to “make a score.” Matriarchal government destroys the family, and this is the spirit of jazz music.
Also at http://www.frommers.com/destinations/new-orleans/717241, we read the following revealing information:
Voodoo's roots can be traced in part back to the African Yoruba religion, which incorporates the worship of several different spiritual forces that include a supreme being, deities, and the spirits of ancestors. When Africans were kidnapped, enslaved, and brought to Brazil--and, ultimately, Haiti--beginning in the 1500s, they brought their religion with them.
By the 1700s, 30,000 slaves a year were brought to Haiti. Voodoo began to emerge at this time as different African religions met and melded. (The word "voodoo" comes from an African word meaning "god" or "spirit.") Slaves were forced to convert to Catholicism, but they found it easy to practice both religions. Voodoo gods were given saints' names, and voodoo worship more or less continued, appropriating certain Catholic rituals and beliefs. Rituals involved participants dancing in a frenzy to increasingly wild drumbeats and eventually falling into a trancelike state, during which a loa (a spirit and/or lower-level deity intermediary between humans and gods) would take possession of them.
Voodoo didn't immediately take root in New Orleans, thanks to repressive slaveholders and an edict banning its practice. But the edict was repealed after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and in 1804, when slaves in Haiti revolted and overthrew the government, free blacks came to New Orleans in great numbers, as did fleeing plantation owners with their own slaves, all bringing a fresh infusion of voodoo.
Napoleonic law forced slave owners to give their slaves Sundays off and to provide them with a gathering place. Congo Square on Rampart Street, part of what is now Louis Armstrong Park, became the place for slaves to gather for voodoo or drumming rituals. Voodoo then was a way for slaves to have their own community and a certain amount of freedom. The religion emphasized knowledge of family and gave power to ancestors. Further, women were usually the powerful forces in voodoo--priestesses ran matters more often than priests--and this appealed to women in a time when women simply didn't have that kind of authority and power.
These gatherings naturally attracted white onlookers, as did the rituals held (often by free people of color) along St. John's Bayou. The local papers of the 1800s are full of lurid accounts of voodoo "orgies" and of whites possessed by spirits, otherwise losing control, or arrested after being caught in a naked pose. Thanks to the white scrutiny, the Congo Square gatherings became more like performance pieces, emphasizing drumming and music rather than religious rituals. Because of the square's proximity to what became Storyville, legend has it that madams from the houses would come down to the Sunday gatherings and hire some of the performers to entertain at their houses.
It was during the 1800s that the famous voodoo priestesses came to some prominence. Mostly free women of color, they were devout religious practitioners and very good businesswomen who had a steady clientele of whites secretly coming to them for help in love or money matters. During the 1900s, voodoo largely went back underground. (Today it remains about 15% of the population of New Orleans.)
If one studies further concerning these dances, they find that they were indeed just what the first article described – “grotesque and orgiastic illegal rituals.” Conducted outside of town late in the night near Lake Pontchartrain, after performing some Voodoo rights, such as throwing a bound live rooster into a pot of boiling water, all the people would undress and dance around an open fire by the sound of drum beats, followed by a time together in the lake, and then a period in which they would consummate this spirited orgy. This was the culture and attitude and moral state that existed in the black African dances, and the lifestyle of the jazz musicians mimicked this.
One of the many times in which the jazz bands had an opportunity to play was at funerals, and these musical frenzies were rooted specifically in Voodoo. The classic “jazz funerals” were lead by the bands as both a celebration of the person’s death, as well as to prevent demons from entering into the body.
When one reads the following description of these ceremonial dances – “Rituals involved participants dancing in a frenzy to increasingly wild drumbeats and eventually falling into a trancelike state, during which a loa (a spirit and/or lower-level deity intermediary between humans and gods) would take possession of them” – one cannot help but recognize the identical frenzies accomplished in jazz and its music products, or even for that fact the identical frenzies accomplished in black churches, even today. The reason for this is quite clear – they are continuing to operate under the same spirit as the Voodoo that accompanied the black man when he was brought to this country. Remember, all that had to be done to make these spirits acceptable was to combine them with Catholicism and give the spirits new names, the names of saints. This spirit is often the spirit that operates within the black church, and destroys the black family structure (which is by far the most fractured family structure in America). And when you watch someone dancing today to the loud beat of drums and rhythm, it is simply a continuation of its Voodoo origins in the ritual dances of the birthplace of jazz.
During the Roaring Twenties when America was consumed with frivolity and the swing of jazz and ragtime dances like the Charleston, Rudolph Fisher, a black physician, author, and speaker, wrote concerning the white man’s newfound penchant – “It is almost as if a traveler from the north stood and watched an African tribe dance, then suddenly found himself swept wildly into it, caught in its tribal rhythm. Maybe these Nordics at last have tuned into our wavelength. Maybe they are at last learning to speak our language.” Voodoo lives on!
In its beginnings in New Orleans and later in Chicago and New York, jazz and its predecessor, the blues, was a black phenomenon. These music forms, including ragtime music, like the ancient African and Voodoo music, was almost void of melody and even harmony, but heavily emphasized rhythm characteristic of its African roots. As one might expect from its name and its origin, music that is of this construction is designed to appeal to the flesh. Let us briefly examine the construction of music in general.
Even as man is a trinity of spirit, soul, and body, or as God is a trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, so music is a trinity of melody, harmony, and rhythm. As in the case of each of these trinities, proper placement of emphasis and focus determines its correct and proper workings and outcome. Therefore, most revealingly, it is likewise the emphasis of these various parts of music that determines the goodness of the music, and even to which part of man the music will appeal. Music that emphasizes melody appeals to the spirit of man. Music that emphasizes harmony appeals to the soul of man. And, music that emphasizes rhythm or beat appeals to the flesh of man. The latter is quite obvious when one observes the physical response of the flesh or human body to strong rhythm. And even as Storyville used to its advantage, as well as Voodoo, dominating rhythm can be very intoxicating and mesmerizing, giving one over to seducing spirits.
Proper music should have the same order as the trinity of God. The Son and the Holy Spirit do nothing but that which glorifies the Father; thus likewise, godly music should do nothing to distract from the melody, but do everything to glorify and support the melody. Any music that does not do this, stimulates the hearer to exercise his own actions out of either his soul or his flesh. This is one of the GREAT spiritual detriments of black or soul music in any form, even in “gospel” music. Thus we find that the government of the music has an impact that can be even greater than the words, despite the fact that the words may attempt to be “good.”
And not only is the actual construction of jazz or blues so appealing to the flesh, but the lyrics of the music are equally fitting for bringing a curse on America. The lyrics of blues and jazz have focused on the themes of the lives and environment of those who produced it, which included rampant sex, heavy drinking, jail, murder, poverty, hard labor, and lost love. One blues song representatively preached – “It feels good doing right, but much better doing wrong!” This is the spirit of jazz.
Equally revealing are the lives of the original founders of jazz. There are two predominant figures who stand out in jazz’s beginnings – Buddy Bolden and “Jelly Roll” Morton. Why is it that we study these beginning figures? For the same reason we study the beginning of man in the Garden. For the same reason we study the beginning of Christianity. For the same reason we study the beginning of the tribe of Judah. (More on Judah later.) The beginning of a work is the seed that reveals its destiny. The Garden of God was a seed testimony of what takes place in the kingdom of God. The life and teachings of Yahshua were a seed of the church. And the beginnings of Judah and his wife and three sons were a like and revealing seed testimony of the priesthood that would come through the tribe of Judah. Equally, the beginnings of jazz, and as we will find, the men who began it, are a likewise clear testimony of the future impact and outcome of this vile music.
Buddy Bolden was the first musician to start playing the jazz sounds. In his time he was called “King Bolden,” and is today called the “first king of jazz.” From New Orleans Online at http://www.neworleansonline.com/neworleans/music/musichistory/musicgreats/buddybolden.html, we read:
The King worked hard, too hard, at his music and at his girls. He began to startle the dancers with almost demonic musical passages: then he sloughed off and went sad. In 1907, in the midst of a parade, with his women all around him he halted, screamed, and frothed at the mouth. A little later the family took him to the state mental hospital at Jackson, and for nearly twenty-five years he remained there a broken man.
The founding king of jazz never recovered and died in the Louisiana State Insane Asylum, a MOST fitting and foreboding and striking seed testimony and omen of the future of the music he began. The wise will see this beginning, this warning, and turn from it and its offspring. As went Bolden, so goes jazz.
The second man of notoriety, who according to his own boastful acclaim was the “Inventor of Jazz,” was “Jelly Roll” Morton. “Jelly Roll” was a flamboyant and braggadocios pianist, gambler, pool shark, pimp, and vaudeville comedian, whom his grand-mother rejected when she found out he worked at Storyville. His self-ascribed name, “Jelly Roll,” once again carries a meaning consistent with jazz and its environment – sexual erotic motion. And like many jazz musicians, New Orleans Voodoo was never far from him. In the end he blamed his declining health on a Voodoo spell.
And we cannot leave the history of jazz without noting the first band to record jazz music – The Original Dixieland Jazz Band. This recording was made in 1917 and sold over 250,000 copies, affording some Americans the first time ever to hear jazz. The band was composed of five New Orleans white youth, and it did not bear its name for no reason, as they too were billed – “The creators of Jazz.” The founder and leader of the group, Nick La Rocca, claimed to his dying day that jazz had come from him. Shortly after the recording, the band began to fall apart – one was drafted to war, one died of influenza, another just quit, and Nick La Rocca suffered a nervous breakdown and returned to the construction business in New Orleans. Such were the greatly ill and foreboding beginnings of jazz.
But keep in mind, this black music that is filled with these ill beginnings, is the birth place for the rock and roll music leading up to the sixties, and everything thereafter up to today, even pop Christian music. Rap and hip-hop, which are equally from the black culture, are a mere extension of this Voodoo emphasis on rhythm and beat, to the extent that it is the sole element of that “music.” But all of these offshoots carry the same jazz spirit, the same curse.
We note what happened to the first king of jazz; so what happened to the king of rock and roll? Elvis Presley also died prematurely at the age of 42 (the number of lads slain by the two she bears), having suffered from the destructive ills of his own rock and roll career. This same ill premature fate came to other rock and roll stars like Janice Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison of the Doors, Bryan Jones of the Rolling Stones, as well as a vast host of those who have gotten caught up in this music and its loose lifestyle. Whether the consequences directly impact you or not, and music since then has had many ill consequences, those consequences are still perpetuated through these music forms.
Jazz was rejected by most of the public in its beginnings as it crept out of New Orleans and began to take root in Chicago and New York and other cities. It was often called a disease or virus, and even middleclass blacks rejected it as a threat to the future progress of blacks. Black and white churches alike preached against it. But the most compelling evidence to this curse on America through its jazz music, is the profound difference in the morals of Americans before 1920 and after 1920. Undeniably, 1920 was the pivotal point in American morals, when Americans danced their way into moral failure by the music of jazz. Americans suddenly threw off the virtues of past generations and entered the loose morals that came out of New Orleans and Storyville.
Jazz incorporated and even promoted the spirit of its past and the spirit of the age – fast dancing and loose living. Dancing consumed the country, and as American short-story writer and novelist, F. Scott Fitzgerald, wrote, himself a sad casualty of the 20’s – “It was a whole race going hedonistic, deciding on pleasure.” “The parties were bigger, the shows were broader, the buildings were higher, the morals were looser, and the liquor was cheaper. But all these benefits did not really minister to much delight. Young people wore out early; they were hard and languid at twenty-one, and none of them contributed anything new.” Like drunken children blinded by revelry, no one looked back to see the initial seed testimony of King Bolden and his prophetic fate. Even so, his fate both speaks and is not to no effect. Our nation is insane as we watch our moral failure come to maturity!
Most revealingly, when did the blues and even jazz get their big public beginning? While the 1917 recording by those five white young men was a first, it is not recognized as the true public introduction or big beginning of blues and jazz. That was to follow three years later. Would you be surprised that the monumental beginning of this curse of music was none other than the year America was cursed – 1920? Indeed it was! And not only was it in 1920, but it was once again through the work and performance of a woman, and equally as one might expect, a black woman.
In 1920, the year America was cursed via the establishment of the Eighteenth and the Nineteenth Amendments, the second part of that curse was concurrently legally effected by the New York General Phonograph Company’s recording and release of Mamie Smith and her Jazz Hounds’ “Crazy Blues” and "It's Right Here for You." Within the first month, the album sold 75,000 copies, and within a year over one million copies, and in the end sold over two million copies. This dramatic success caused other record companies to scramble to record blues and jazz artists, throwing open wide the door of the behemoth recording industry we know today.
Thus, in 1920 blues and jazz found its broadest exposure into American society, opening the way to many other black as well as white jazz singers and bands, giving America the right music to dance and party its way into moral decline like the sons and daughters of Israel danced before the golden calf, and laying the foundation for other offshoots of jazz’s musical style and culture and curse, leading them into even further titillating decline. Satan took the curse that was rampant in New Orleans Voodoo and Storyville loose living and prostitution, gave it its expanded beginnings in 1920, and through that music spread the curse throughout America and the world! The curse of Voodoo, with its snake god and rhythm-driven dancing and lust for sensuality and sex, though repackaged to make it appealing to each generation, lives on!
Continue to page 4 of The Garden of God – Today for BLACKS