Growing up as the son of a rabbi, Avi Wisnia has always had an ear for traditional Jewish melodies. Take that foundation and throw in some straight-ahead jazz, soulful swing, and a Hanukkah theme, and you have Maoz Tsur (Rock of Ages), a holiday jazz instrumental. Originally a liturgical poem, Maoz Tsur has become a popular Hanukkah song, typically sung after the lighting of the menorah, whose words rejoice in the ability to claim victory over oppressors and overcome persecution. “This song is different from anything I have recorded so far,” explains Wisnia. “But having grown up surrounded by Jewish music my entire life, I wanted to celebrate the holiday by taking this traditional song from my childhood with this simple melody and doing something a little more complex with it.” Quite possibly the most modern take on this classic tune that also stays true to the original melody, this rendition is sure to be found in houses full of families sharing the joy of the holiday. Whether you are lighting the menorah, playing dreidel, or sitting down to a meal with your loved ones, Avi Wisnia's Maoz Tsur encompasses everything that the holiday season should be about.
released November 23, 2011
Piano - Avi Wisnia
Guitar – Toru Takiguchi
Bass – Gil Smuskowitz
Drums – Kim Garey
Recorded and Mixed by Roger Greenawalt
at Shabby Road Studios, Brooklyn NY