The Chicago Jazz Mass

The Chicago Jazz Mass was first celebrated on Ascension Day in 1986 at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saint Luke, 1500 West. Belmont, Chicago with Pastor David Abrahamson leading the worship. This Eucharistic liturgy composed by Andy Tecson consisting of a Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei and Nunc Dimittis has been celebrated at hundreds of church services involving many denominations, including festival services for the National Council of Churches, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America national assemblies, a United Methodist Church regional assembly, a Metropolitan Chicago Synod assembly, and the Good Samaritan Society National Assembly in communities including Denver, Davenport, Minneapolis, Chicago and Cleveland.

The band has approximately one hundred traditional and contemporary hymns as part of its repertoire. In a typical Sunday morning worship service, the congregation is singing familiar hymns from its hymnal in addition to the Mass. The emphasis is on congregational participation and worship. The traditions of worship practice of the particular congregation are integrated with the music, with the jazz band substituting for the organ or other instrumental accompaniment which is typically used by that congregation. In a Christian Century column, Dr. Martin E. Marty has written that “When Tecson and company bring jazz into the sanctuary, they induce awe.”

Andy Tecson has also composed a service of evening prayer, which the band uses in some of its vesper services.