Jewish jazz for the Fourth



In honor of America’s birthday, Temple Ner Simcha will host a “Jewish Jazzy July Shabbat Under the Stars” service at 7 p.m. Fri., July 6 at Oak Canyon Community Park, 5600 Hollytree Drive, Oak Park.

The clergy and musical team of the synagogue will be joined by guest jazz musicians as they create musical interpretations of some of the Sabbath liturgy.

Joining the Ner Simcha clergy will be trumpet and percussionist David Zasloff of “The Tonight Show” and guitarist Mat Gurman, who has performed with Count Basie, K.D. Lang and B.B. King, among others.

Special guest will be saxophonist John Cheas, whose career spans over five decades of playing with performers including Cher and Frankie Avalon.

“Jazz is tied to the American experience and, I would add, to the Jewish experience as well,” said Rabbi Michael Barclay, the spiritual leader of Ner Simcha. “Bernstein, Gershwin, Benny Goodman, Mel Torme, Kenny G, Dave Koz. We’ve always expressed our souls through this music. It’s going to be an amazing ing evening as we integrate our Shabbat prayers with some phenomenal music under the stars.”

Zasloff said jazz is the perfect music for Independence Day.

“Art Blakey once said: ‘No America, no jazz.’ Jazz is indigenous to the United States and historically deeply influenced by Jewish culture and musical modes, so it makes sense to celebrate the Sabbath this way on the July Fourth weekend,” Zasloff said.

“We’re not only going to jazz up some of the classic Jewish melodies, but we’re going to add in jazz standards as creative interpretations of some of the prayers.

“It should be a perfect celebration of being Jewish in America as we combine prayer and music outside in nature,” he said.

People can picnic and hear the musicians warming up at 6 p.m. The service begins at 7.

Temple Ner Simcha is an inclusive community with no membership dues, no cost for High Holiday services, and no bar/bat mitzvah fees or tutoring costs.

Weekly outdoor services are held every Friday night from now through Aug. 31 at Oak Canyon Community Park.

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