At Cambridge Ewan King struggled to reconcile Eliot and Wittgenstein with theology of rural chapel childhood.
Then came a seven-year odyssey in Mitteleurop and Scandinavia. Still searching for point where modern thought and chapel Christianity coincide, Ewan learned Czech and Finnish.
Back in London he played jazz piano at the Garrick Club, Finnish embassy and other religious establishments; was paid to censor Shakespeare by illegal Jewish Orthodox school; finally perceived point of intersection between own religious and secular convictions; began training for Christian ministry.
The King/Cave project has quickly established itself on the London jazz scene and within the church, inspired by the nordic worship concept “Thomas Mass”. The first Thomas Mass was held in Helsinki, Finland, in spring 1988. Since then the Thomas Mass has stood for all that is most attractive on the “nordic worship scene”. Provision and preparation is on a lavish scale, artistry and passion, tradition and experiment are in evidence everywhere. At the heart of the concept are prayer and welcome.
Here in Britain the musical landscape is full of barriers, the church music scene as much as any scene. We’d be fooling ourselves to think we could break them down. But there’s a gap in every hedge: you can always sneak through, maybe take a friend through too.
Cave & King, who met when studying literature at Cambridge, come from quite different places: Cave’s first “band” was a cathedral choir, King was raised among the Bedfordshire Strict Baptists. The project is all about finding ways to marry traditions like those.
The project has recently been commissioned by Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, to provide a new jazz liturgy based on the texts of 17th century mystic Thomas Traherne.
“A relevation to many” – Baptist Times
“Stunning” – Church Times