Music Nerdery.

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Posts Tagged ‘Herbie Hancock

When Religion And Music Mix Beautifully.

with 2 comments

A few months ago, I asked a great music nerd friend of mine… Mr. Ryen David… about his interest in Buddhism, and what he knew specifically about Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism.

This was his wonderful, well thought out reply.

This question was posed to me yesterday by a friend who was raised in Nichiren Buddhism.
I have the oddest answer for it though. I found out about Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and subsequently Nichiren Buddhism via album liner notes.
In the liner notes of a Herbie Hancock record to be exact. The song it referenced was “Actual Proof” on the Thrust album. To say I love the song is an understatement.

Let me paraphrase it a bit from the liner notes of Herbie Hancock, Actual Proof  (Thrust, 1974):

“A first take World Series grand slam. Herbie, drummer Mike Clark (what he does on this track is the stuff of legend) and bassist Paul Jackson, after an hour of “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo’s”, went into the studio with the intention of sticking it to the producer that insisted they use some middle-school Mickey Mouse groove. And stick it to him they did.”

I identified with this for multiple reasons. One, I am a bass player initially. Jazz was the first thing I learned. I loved the complexity of it. I am a sucker for grooves. I like the idea that a challenge can be overcome by the zoned-in focus of mental clarity of purpose. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo fit the bill here. It takes dedication to get things right. It takes dedication to do anything worth doing. I know that if I dedicate myself to understanding, to clarity, to removing suffering, to understanding the gravity of what I do/think/say, I make a difference. The chant just reaffirms for me the power of sound and rhythm to lift people up. It has worked for me ever since.

Thanks, @RyenDavid for reminding me that religion and music can go hand in hand in an amazing way.


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