April 8 marks the first night of Passover and, therefore, the first seder for Jews around the world. Back in 2016, Jason Robert Brown held his 14th SubCulture residency concert on the second night of the Jewish holiday and opened his set with his new arrangement of the Passover tune “Dayenu.” Today, he released the video to raise the spirits of his people everywhere.
“The Manischewitz Merengue,” as Brown titled it, was recorded April 23, 2016 (“the 15th of Nisan, 5776”) and features Brown with Gary Sieger on guitar, Randy Landau on bass, Clint de Ganon on drums, Todd Reynolds on violin, Jami Dauber on trumpet, Dave Riekenberg on tenor saxophone, Rob DeBellis on baritone saxophone, and Clint Sharman on trombone.
“Why is this night different from all other nights?” Brown and producer Marc Kaplan ask in a statement. “Because tonight we can’t all be together in the same room with all of our loved ones. But we celebrate anyway—celebrate the miracle of making music together, and the future when we will all be together again.” They encourage audiences to “play this at your virtual seders for everyone to enjoy as you pass around the Manischewitz and sing with each other.”
Dayenu is a prayer sung near the end of the seder (the gathering Jews observe in order to retell the bible story of the Exodus from Egypt led by Moses) in recognition of all that has been bestowed upon the people of Israel—not just the escape from slavery. Dayenu roughly translates to “it would have been enough.”
The performance features sound design by Craig Bundy and lighting design by William Hansen. The video, executive produced by Kaplan and recorded by Alan Smith and Adam Volerich and edited by Smith, features mixing and mastering by James Hartnett.