Bill Carter - Scranton Jazz Festival | Jazz, Food, Spirits

Bill Carter

Chris Rogers
July 19, 2021
Chris Rogers
July 19, 2021
Bill Carter
presbybop.com

After years of pretending to split the life of faith from the music of jazz, Presbyterian Minister Bill Carter has been trying to find links between the two halves of his brain. Presbybop Music is his attempt to integrate his strong Presbyterian faith with the rhythms of bebop.

The Presbybop Quartet was formed in 1993 with Al Hamme, Bill’s college music professor from Binghamton University. With the core lineup of drummer Ron Vincent and bassist Tony Marino, the band has evolved into a consort of musicians who have been turning heads on the musical scene. As Al Hamme moved into retirement, saxophonist Michael Carbone was welcomed to perform and record with the band. Going with the free form of jazz, the band has become a quintet or sextet on occasion, with trumpeter Jeff Stockham and others joining in the mix. There is also a special- edition Presbybop “Christmas Eve Band” that presents holiday concerts and an annual jazz celebration on December 24.

Based in northeastern Pennsylvania, this consort of jazz music professionals has presented concerts and jazz worship services in churches and venues around the country. Their music has been widely acclaimed and to date, Bill’s ensembles have recorded eleven compact discs: Faith in a New Key, Dancing Day, Fragile Incarnation, Stand On Your Head, John According to Jazz (with biblical storyteller Dennis Dewey),Welcome Home (with vocalist Warren Cooper), Psalms Without Words, Interior Window, Jazz Noel, Jazz for the Earth, and The Dancing Calvinist.

In his recently published book, Thriving on a Riff, Bill shows us how jazz, in its quest for transcendence, bridges the gap between the secular and the sacred and, further, that these two worlds are not mutually exclusive–jazz is spiritual.

“Jazz is born of diversity; it requires openness. It’s a shared improvisational thread that can overcome bigotry and unite all who embrace it. In these pages, Bill Carter — who cheekily confesses that he was put on Earth to “pray the piano” — rhapsodizes about the timeless euphoria of wholly embracing a transformative jazz performance. He’s a born raconteur; readers from every walk of life will enjoy his sublime gift for sharing the jazz world’s most uplifting and provocative stories, and for gently reminding us of music’s power for spiritual healing.” Derrick Bang, author of Vince Guaraldi at the Piano.