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Upto Here From Here by Ayelet Rose Gottlieb

Upto Here From Here is a new CD release from Ayelet Rose Gottlieb. It’s her third album since her debut CD Internal External which was rated best of 2004 by All About Jazz. Ms. Gottlieb has a distinct style, a wonderful voice and some ideas that are quite outside the realm of standard fare. Born in Israel, her home town is Jerusalem, her musical base is New York and she blends contemporary and traditional forms of music with high drama, humour, satire, style and grace. Joined in her world travels by a tour de force of New York jazz cats she really can do no wrong. Upto Here From Here is my pick for one of the best jazz vocal performances of 2009.

Upto Here From Here is made up of twelve tracks; eight of the tunes are composed by A.R. Gottlieb. The lyrics on six of the songs are by others, like Martin Luther King Jr. from "The Measure of a Man" comes a song Gottlieb names "Sweep Streets". This is a bluesy number, soulful and musically delightful. A soprano saxophone, sounding like a New Orleans style swing clarinet care of Loren Stillman marches on a clean street clearing a path for Ms. Gottlieb who preaches in spiritual harmony. The high end clarion call of Avishai Cohen singing praise to being the best you can be sends this song straight up to heaven.

Assuring listeners of her jazz sensibilities Ms. Gottlieb has included a jazz standard, "The Nearness of You". Her harmonies with saxophone and trumpet are beautiful. Gottlieb displays incredible command of her instrument, grand dynamics, modulating notes and changing tones to reflect the multi hued colour of the song. This is a stirring and original interpretation of a jazz classic.

Other interpretations are given to translating the poetry of award winning Israeli poet Agi Mishol on the song "Letter" and "Upto Here From Here". The music and the mood of "Letter" is dark, with deep throated, husky singing augmented by muted trumpet and pretty, delicate piano by Anat Fort. The song is given the tone of a ballad with classical underpinnings care of Ms. Fort. The song takes on a portrait of sadness, distance and hope. The title track is given a different spin, a little Klezmer mixed with a new wave contemporary groove and featuring the fine trumpet playing of Mr. Cohen accompanied by Ms. Gottlieb’s vocal instrumentation.

Upto Here From Here has a lot going for it, on each listen there is some new discovery. A fantastic recording! On a sad note - the CD is dedicated to the memory of Take Toriyama who passed away recently. The rhythm section of Anat, Toriyama and Schuller make for a cohesive unit that projects the spirit of the project completely. A well produced CD - production credit to A.R Gottlieb and Shahar Levavi. The bonus is the excellent cover illustration by Gideon Kendall, great poster art.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Ayelet Rose Gottlieb
  • CD Title: Upto Here From Here
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: Obliq Sound
  • Tracks: 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
  • Musicians: 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)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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