Though the new CD is his first larger attempt at joining jazz and the tradition of sacred music, Wright said he would be willing to write a jazz Mass should he ever have the opportunity.
Prominent names in the world of jazz such as Mary Lou William and Dave Brubeck have already written Masses in the style. William herself, a convert to Catholicism, performed her third Mass for Pope Paul VI in Rome in the early 1970s.
"One of the things I've been really cognizant of is that there are very strong opinions on both sides as to what types of music are appropriate for the liturgy," Wright said, explaining that while a jazz Mass might be in his future, his new CD "is not liturgical."
He said that his CD is "an experiment to test the waters and to see if this works," adding that while it works for him as an artist in terms of being "an authentic expression of my faith" and to be "a really invigorating way to create art," he is also open to how other people will respond.
Another unique element of the new CD is that it features the Notre Dame Children's Choir, which consists of Christian sacred music vocalists up to the age of 17.
As a project that's free and completely supported by the university, the choir is mean "to engage with people who don't have as many privileges" in the area, such as immigrants and those who live in poverty.
The idea, Wright said, is to "create an environment where you can bring people from different backgrounds together in sacred music," teaching them values such as inclusiveness.
In terms of how this vision relates to the CD, Wright said the choir's director wanted the CD to be "a catalyst" for the greater mission of the choir, which focuses on how new music can "excite young people to want to build a great tradition of sacred music for now within the spirit of diversity and social justice."
Wright said he can see his entire life's work as a sacred music artist involving this sort of partnership, "because it's a way to unite people in an extremely non-confrontational way."
Another "really cool" aspect of jazz is that it opens the door for people, particularly children from different demographics, to come together.
"Our sacred music tradition is a white tradition, it's Western-European. That's not a slight, that's just what it is," he said, noting that jazz "is a predominantly black tradition and it's the music of the African-American people that flourished through the 20th century and flourished through their oppression."
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
What they were able to do is create "this incredible body of art that represented their struggles in our society," Wright said, explaining that he sees jazz as a way to unite people from different backgrounds.
"Not only are the two different types of people coming together, the two music are coming together and they each have a home," he said, adding that when people come together and build this type of "organic union of community, you can maybe break down" some of the barriers that might be separating them.