Modern ties to cantorial music

Video still from The Jazz Singer - Kol Nidre

The Jazz Singer

The Jazz Singer was released in 1927. The film tells the story of a young man (Jacob, played by Al Jolson) whose father wants him to follow in his footsteps and become a cantor. However, Jacob would much rather be a jazz singer. The two become estranged, and Jacob (later “Jack”) becomes a popular entertainer. On his father’s deathbed he returns to sing the Kol Nidre prayer from Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The Jazz Singer is considered the first “sound” film: the first feature-length motion picture with both synchronized recorded music score and, in select sequences,  lip-synchronous singing and speech.

Video still from The Jazz Singer
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The Jazz Singer - 1927

Video still of Neil Dimond in the 1980 version of the Jazz Singer
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The Jazz Singer - 1980

Neil Diamond starred in a 1980 remake

A Song and a Prayer

Cantorial Music in Maine​