Brooklyn-born Jonathan Klein grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts, where his father, Rabbi Joseph Klein, was the rabbi at Temple Emanuel—a large Reform congregation there—from 1948 until 1977. The composer’s early musical influences were some of the acknowledged jazz greats, and much of his musical education came from listening to the music of such artists as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis (especially his collaborations with Gil Evans), and Bill Evans. Klein graduated from Brown University in 1970 and also studied extensively at the Berklee School of Music (the Berklee College of Music since 1970), where he was an associate professor of film scoring until his retirement. Among his other jazz-informed liturgical works—in addition to Hear, O Israel: A Sabbath Service in Jazz, which appears in Volume 15—is a jazz cantata, Of Sacred Times and Seasons, to a text by Rabbi Daniel Polish.
By: Neil W. Levin