The beloved Hanukkah piece Rock of Ages, Let Our Song (not to be confused with the hymn Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me) uses a 15th century German Ashkenazi melody named after the Hebrew lyrics Ma’oz Tzur which means “stronghold of rock.” (The title is often spelled Maoz Tsur, and it appears with that spelling in several Christian hymnals.) The same tune is used for the Christian hymns Men and Children Everywhere and Praise Our Great and Gracious Lord. James King’s jazz reharmonization takes the piece to a completely different level, with plenty of sophisticated extended chords voiced as the professional jazz pianists would play them. This early advanced work is ideal for holiday recitals and is completely gig-worthy.
Key: C major
Mood: high-class, stylish, elegant, laid-back
Pedagogy: professional jazz voicings, optional solo improvising.