Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Forty Days and Dave Brubeck

My church, Grace Community, is studying 40 Days in the Word, and I was reminded of one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite jazz pianists, Dave Brubeck, best known for his rendition of "Take Five" (go ahead and Google it; it's a classic!).  The song is called “Forty Days”, and, according to Brubeck, it was written to represent Jesus’s 40 days in the wilderness as he is tempted by Satan.  The passage is from Matthew 4:1-11 (NIV):
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God, he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan!  For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
I believe the song represents this passage well.  It is very atmospheric, with a haunting melody that includes a cello introduction, followed by bass, cello, and piano solos.  Even if you don’t care for jazz, I think you’ll find that this song captures the scene perfectly.  Enjoy!

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