Saturday, March 06, 2010


Israeli jazz singer Ayelet Rose Gottlieb, was born on March 6,1979 in Jerusalem and has elevated to a rarefied level of artistry. Gottlieb pulls the art of jazz singing out of its safety zone and infuses it with new possibilities, exploring the human voice in a way that few contemporary singers can or will. And Gottlieb does so seemingly nonchalantly, with the panache and authority of an artist who has been making records for decades, not a mere handful of years.

Unlike so many singers around her, she explores the textures and styles that her voice can produce. She is an instrumentalist on par with any other and a fully integrated member of her band.

Gottlieb's earlier recordings -- the avant-garde- oriented debut "InTernal ExTernal " (Genevieve, 2004) and "Mayim Rabim" (Tzadik, 2006), an original song cycle based on the erotic biblical love poem “Song of Songs” and sung entirely in Hebrew -- established Gottlieb as an adventurous, even audacious performer. Her CD "Upto Here From Here", co-produced by Gottlieb and her husband Shahar Levavi, makes it even clearer that Gottlieb is a commanding artist who thrives on the unexpected: Her improvisational acumen is second to none, her confidence as a leader and her range defy description, and her artistic inquisitiveness spurs her to outdo herself each time out.

Gottlieb's own ride has taken her to far-flung geographical locales and musical touch points. She has absorbed as much music as she's had the opportunity to: her influences run the gamut from Middle Eastern music to American folk, classical music, Israeli punk, blues, early electronica, experimental rock, Spanish guitar, French Chanson, and, of course, jazz, particularly inspirational figures being Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman and Betty Carter.

Ayelet played classical flute during her early childhood and into her years at the Arts High School in Jerusalem. She continued her musical education at Rimon School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in Tel Aviv, while holding a steady gig in Jerusalem with Saxophone legend Arnie Lawrence, who was her mentor and collaborator until his death in '05. She came to the States in 2000 to complete her BM at the New England Conservatory, where she studied with vocalist Dominique Eade, and with visionaries such as Ran Blake and George Russell.

She moved to New York in 2002, where she was quickly absorbed into the city's vibrant downtown scene. She has played in clubs including the Jazz Standard, B.B Kings and The Stone, and performed at some of the world's most prestigious concert halls, including a recent performance at Carnegie Hall with vocal master Bobby McFerrin, and a guest performance at the Israeli Opera House, with Joe Lovano and John Abercrombie. She currently collaborates with Macarthur Genius Award winner John Zorn on two of his projects. On his “Shir Hashirim” composition, she narrates in Hebrew, while an alternate version is narrated in English by living legends Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson. Additionally, she works with “Mycale,” an all female vocal ensemble commissioned by Zorn to create collaborative arrangements to music from his Book of Angels.

Ayelet currently splits her time between New York, Jerusalem and Wellington, New Zealand, a puzzle-life that has inspired her to start a new bi-continental band called Pangaea, with one leg in Israel and another in New York.

Ayelet's "Great Waters"
Reference - AAJ

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