Yosef Gutman Levitt

Yosef Gutman Levitt

Musicians | Instrument: Bass, acoustic | Location: Jerusalem

There is something so luminous, open-hearted and wholly unique about the music on Yosef Gutman Levitt’s self-produced trio recording upside down mountain that it begs the question: Where did this guy come from?

—Bill Milkowski

Updated: October 30, 2023

Born: January 29, 1979


Yosef Gutman's palette flourishes from the vast world colors which influenced his artistic development. Whether composing and recording new music or collaborating with high-caliber instrumentalists to explore the world of Nigunim (melodies from the heart), Yosef Gutman strives to foster connections that stimulate the imagination through music performed from the soul.


Yosef Gutman was born in 1979 in South Africa. He grew up in a farming area known as Knoppieslaagte. He began music lessons at an early age, but abandoned the piano in favor of skateboarding at age 11. Life on the farm was quiet, chickens, geese, and horses roamed the property. This provided much time for kickflip practice on the bricked surfaces around the farm house.

At age 16 Yosef reshifted his passion back to music. Inspired by Weather Report, he picked up the bass guitar. The same quietude that afforded him uninterrupted skateboard practice was a perfect environment for many hours of bass exploration. At 18, Yosef submitted a recording of his arrangement of the South African National Anthem to Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA who subsequently invited him to study on a scholarship.


Arriving at Berklee College in 1998, Yosef dedicated many practice hours and opened himself up to the musical influence of his peers. At the time, those peers included trumpeter Avishai Cohen, guitarist Lionel Loueke, Walter Smith III and his long-time friend and production partner, Gilad Ronen. Through intensive work and passion invested in the bass guitar, the inception of Yosef's individual style began to emerge. Upon graduating Magna Cum Laude, he moved to New York with Lionel Loueke and others.


Building a Jazz career in New York City was not an easy undertaking. Initiated into New York life by a noisy Brooklyn apartment on Atlantic Avenue, the first thing Yosef sought was a job. He started in a restaurant kitchen and soon found himself bussing tables at the Blue Ribbon in SoHo. Working excruciating hours, he used the income from the work for a split between rent and paying quality musicians to perform with him Thursday nights at a Brooklyn venue. He performed with Lionel Loueke, Ben Monder, & Robert Stillman. This was a period of abundant musical development for Yosef until one cold winter evening on his way home from the popular Jazz venue Zinc Bar...


On the late-night train home, Yosef asked himself, "Why?". What was music for him and why was he doing it? He hit pause on his artistic career until the answer emerged over a decade later. During the artistic sabbatical, he did dabble in commercial music. He produced over 100 pieces for the Oprah Winfrey Show during a year at the height of the show's popularity. When that chapter ended, he temporarily abandoned performance completely and taught himself how to program and design software.

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All About Jazz Articles

Album Review

Omri Mor / Yosef-Gutman Levitt: Melodies of Light

Read "Melodies of Light" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

It is quite rare in a culture and society driven by autocrats, hits, likes, blogs and podcasts, that recordings as ethereal, yet born of the ageless earth, as Melodies of Light come around to release us from the daily ugly. Spontaneous music of this hypnotic, mysterious beauty and elusive grace give us pause to reflect on where we are, individually and collectively, and to seek a better way. It haunts. It comes at the listener from some timeless ...

Album Review

Yosef-Gutman Levitt & Tal Yahalom: Tsuf Harim

Read "Tsuf Harim" reviewed by Gareth Thompson

In early Hasidic writings, magical and supernatural concepts rooted in the mystic were common. Such notions held that human acts, including musical activity, could affect the godhead and thus the whole world. By the late eighteenth century, these Jewish religious teachings saw music as something inward, a form of contemplation with the soul. Yosef-Gutman Levitt was born in South Africa and was inspired by Weather Report to learn the bass. After moving to New York, he strived to ...

Album Review

Yosef Gutman Levitt: Upside Down Mountain

Read "Upside Down Mountain" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

Yosef Gutman Levitt's acoustic bass guitar serves as the lead instrument on this album. The music he plays with his trio here is full of simple melodic beauty and draws from several folk traditions. This work has a sparse, contemplative joy which bears kinship to the recordings of Ralph Towner. Levitt shows an eloquent command of his instrument, running down insistent folkish melodies alongside Omri Mor's sympathetic piano and Ofri Nehemya's basic drum rhythms on “Wedding Song" and ...

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Bassist/Maestro Yosef Gutman Levitt Takes You On A Spiritual World Jazz Journey Filled With An Innovative Approach To Traditional Hasidic Jewish Music

Bassist/Maestro Yosef Gutman Levitt Takes You On A Spiritual World Jazz Journey Filled With An Innovative Approach To Traditional Hasidic Jewish Music

Source: Darcie Nicole

Accomplished Bassist, Composer, and Arranger Yosef Gutman Levitt has released an innovative double album. The Sun Sings to Hashem and The Moon Sings to Hashem create a powerful intersection between the Jazz and Hasidic Jewish music worlds. A graduate of the world-renowned Berklee College of Music, Levitt took a hiatus from music to focus on a thriving career in high-tech, which included creation of the highly successful platform Mad Mimi. Making his foray back into music, Levitt ties dynamic Eastern ...

"Yosef-Gutman Brings It All Home In One Release Of Sincere, Almost Sublime, Beauty."


The Big Takeover

The Compositions Conjur[E] An Atmosphere Of Appealing Gentleness…An Aura Of What Buddhists Call Loving-Kindness. They Are Quiet Prayers, Offered Gracefully...Yosef Gutman’s Music Speaks Eloquently Of A Peaceful Existence.

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Egberto Gismonti
guitar, acoustic
Gary Peacock
bass, acoustic
Lionel Loueke
guitar, acoustic



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