Jazz Musician Dave Brubeck’s “Jewish” Music

December, 06 2012

Jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck died yesterday of heart failure, just a day short of his 92nd birthday. He was best known for songs such as “Blue Rondo a la Turk” and “Take Five,” which broke into the Billboard Hot 100 in the early 1960s, and eventually became the bestselling jazz recording of all time.

The inspiration for Brubeck’s music frequently came from the Civil Rights Movement, religion and spirituality. As he told Moment in 2010, although he was not Jewish, his song, “The Gates of Justice” was Jewish, in a way:

“‘The Gates of Justice’ was commissioned by Rockdale Temple of Cincinnati, Ohio. After the premiere of ‘The Light in the Wilderness’ by the Cincinnati Symphony, sponsored by the Ecumenical Council, Rabbi Charles Mintz, who was on the Council, told me that he wanted ‘equal time.’ He asked me to write a piece for the dedication of Rockdale Temple. He then brought three rabbis to our house in Connecticut to discuss the commission and what areas we should explore. Although my wife and I are not Jewish, it seemed that our thoughts were very compatible. What they were hoping for was a new approach to the old truths.”

To read Moment’s entire interview with Brubeck, click here.


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