Singer/songwriter Ayelet Rose Gottlieb's last project, an interpretation of the Bible's erotic Song of Songs, was a genre-straddler that succeeded both instrumentally and vocally. With Upto Here | From Here she stretches out with very strong originals in the presence of some NYC jazz stalwarts: drummer Take Toriyama, bassist Ed Schuller, pianist Anat Fort, saxophonist Loren Stillman and trumpeter Avishai Cohen. This modern jazz session highlights her voice as an integral instrument in what becomes a texturally heady setting.
That voice can certainly be straightforward and declarative as she commands that "Life is a Structure That is (Accept it)" or when matter-of-factly describing the bittersweet juices of her "Pomegranate Man." She nestles in 13th century Persian philosopher Rumi's love poems, resulting in a delicate "The Most Alive Moment" and mysterious "Some Kiss." Israeli poet Agi Mishol lends her words to a plaintively sensual "Letter" and the existentially celebratory title cut. In addition, prose from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. aids in creating the very bluesy "Sweep Streets."
A lovely reworking of Hoagy Carmichael's "The Nearness of You" sits surprisingly well among these enchanting originals and artistic constructions before things close with the danceable bonus cut "Venezia." In the seemingly unending stream of vapid female jazz vocal recordings, Gottlieb is one of a handful of who is taking chances that are paying off handsomely.
Track Listing: Pomegranate Man; Life Is A Structure That Is (Accept It!); The Most Alive Moment; Wrong Rain (bird thoughts); Letter; Sweep Streets; Upto Here From Here; The Nearness Of You; Some Kiss; Hidden Forbidden; And In The End; Venezia.
Personnel: Ayelet Rose Gottlieb: voice, balloon; Loren Stillman: saxophones; Avishai Cohen: trumpet, whistle; Ed Schuller: bass; Take Toriyama: drums, percussions, toys; Anat Fort: piano; Venezia Mizrahi: spoken voice.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.