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.