Hello everyone,

I just joined this forum. I'm a musician and a christian, I play saxophone and piano for worship and my husband and I work on worship services together. I'd like to expand the range of songs we do, in our congregation although some people like the rocky type worship music others I think would like alternatives to this, and not necessarily classical hymns. Therefore, I'm looking for suggestions for songs a congregation can sing, that I'd be able to get hold of sheet music for as transcribing is quite time consuming and our pianist needs to have the sheet music in front of her. I'd really like to find worship songs that are singable by a congregation but have a touch of blues, jazz or soul about them. I'm probably asking a lot but I'm sure there must be some out there. I have written 1 or 2 myself but I'd like to find more material to draw upon. Any suggestions?

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We've done these.  They're some of my favorites:

Still Saving Me by Chris McClarney --  http://worshiptogether.com/songs/songdetail.aspx?iid=1795869

Kindness (by Chris Tomlin) the Todd Agnew version -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35U2gkOZ4hk

All Praise (by Jared Anderson) the Vertical Worship Tools version -- https://www.dropbox.com/s/3wvqswbj8921pu6/All%20Praise%20-%20Vertic...

I Will Run by Freddy Rodriguez -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTNjM3UnX3I

Wrap Me In Your Arms (by Michael Gungor) either the Freddy Rodriguez version -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rr4XfAc1JBo  or the William McDowell version with "Closer" -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qceQsAAyah0

I Give Myself Away by William McDowell -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4v5IXbEauM

Thanks, I like that Kindness Agnew video, great rhythmic feel. :-)

A lot of songs can be "jazzed up" by adding some suitable inflections to them. For example, any time you spot a V I cadence, there is a good chance that you can turn it into a ii V7 I (or even ii bII7 I, with a tritone substitution on the V). Another option would be to add major 7ths (9ths, etc) to I and IV chords.

You do need to keep your ears open: sometimes it will work perfectly with the melody and add a subtle richness and sometimes it will simply clash. An example that works pretty well is Brian Doerksen's "I Lift My Eyes Up", which spends most of the time alternating between I and IV chords and gets a lovely ethereal quality when you start dropping in major 7ths.

Or, if you want the whole thing out of the box, try "When I Was Lost (There is a New Song)" by Kate and Miles Simmonds. It has a very modern gospel sound and, to be honest, when I tried it at a previous church in a band practise it proved to be a step too far. However, if your players have the right ears it could be awesome. For a taster, here are the chords from the coda:

|: Bbmaj7 / / / | Bb/C / / / | F / Bb/F / | F / / A7#5 :|

Both of those are found in the Songs of Fellowship collection (books I and III respectively).

Yes we do When I was lost by Kate and Miles Simmonds, it works really well. I really like playing that one. It's funny if I was working from a real book etc I'd naturally think of adding II V 1s and tritone subsitutuions but never thought about it for worship music, until now :-) I'll give it a go.  

It's because you've got all that pesky keyboard arrangement taking up space and making it look like a score to follow rather than an outline to adapt.

I'd love it if Songs of Fellowship was available in a lead sheet format like the Real Book. I know there are times when the piano arrangement is useful (not least on the odd occasion when an obvious chord has been missed out) but, even aside from encouraging a more jazzy approach, mainly sticking to melody and chords would be a way of cutting down awkward page turns!

Yes I think you're right, it's good for some pianists who aren't fluent on chords though, even if they don't play the score as is just seeing the notes written out like that helps them to get the chord, but page turns can be a problem I agree. 

Another one just came to mind.

A long time ago the Maranatha Singers did an arrangement of the Aaronic Benediction called "The Lord Bless Thee."  Then John Mehler and Ken Nash got a hold of it and turned it into a Smooth Jazz piece.


It is track 9, but the whole album has some great jazz on it.

I think that the songs of the 90s lend themselves more to a jazz interpretation than most of the latest songs. I find that hte top songs today lend themselves more to a country interpretation.  I also play sax, but seldom in a worship setting since the tenor is such a loud instrument.  I usually lead for small services.so too much sound sort of scares the sound guy.  Also, back in the day there was a guy who's last name is Barns.  He had a site which is no longer operating called Barn Charts, which were some jazzed up hymns in three parts with accompaniment.  You might look for those., Hope that helps.

I have two songs that might fit what you are looking for" Praise Be To The Lord " With The Lord" and Maybe  "What I've Been Thinking" They are on my page!Feel free to use them!AJ

One song we have started doing recently is kinda slow jazzy - "Nobody Like You" from Paul Wilbur's latest CD.  We probably do it a bit jazzier than Paul does.







The blues jazz feel is in the arranging of the chord structure. So play "My redeemer lives" by Hillsong. But play the E7, E9, A7, during the verse.(using differant chord forms up and down the neck) Then play it "straight" (how it is written) for the chorus. It sounds good and is fun to play.

Second play "I could sing of your love forever" But play E, A, AMaj7, AMaj6, AMaj9, B, B7, B9. Experiment however you don't want it to busy. (it is a worship tune) but you can get a nice breathy "ethereal" sound.


David - Beautiful, directly usable, teachable concept!  You can actually write some of the color tones on top of a regular score, or adjust, with white-out, if the accompanist is a "pure" note-reader.  Or, it's an opportunity to show an accompanist how easy it is to add a chord-tone to create a jazz chord (those two songs have pretty slow chord movement, thus giving the player lots of time to think of chords without worrying).


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