Song of the Day: Yosef Gutman, “Poltova”

Bassist/composer Yosef Gutman Levitt shares music from his first-ever trio album as a leader, which showcases his unique and personal approach to the acoustic bass guitar.

Bassist/composer Yosef Gutman Levitt has had an intriguing journey from his upbringing on a South African farm to his present-day life in Jerusalem. After a hiatus from music to pursue a thriving internet business, Levitt returned to music full-time and developed a personal sound that he has explored in various configurations, including on his trio album debut, Upside Down Mountain, released late last year.

Upside Down Mountain showcases his unique approach to the acoustic bass guitar, melodic and expressive, introspective and soaring. It also marks his first trio album as a bandleader, collaborating with Omni Mor on piano and Ofri Nehmaya on drums on a program of evocative music, including “Poltova,” a nigun, i.e. a form of Jewish religious song.

The track is based on a Hasidic melody from Poltava, Ukraine, dating back to 1882 and conceived by the Rabbi of the town, Reb Yankov Mordechai. This melody is revisited and elevated by the group’s musical ideas and improvisations, and you can hear it via the player below.

Yosef Gutman Levitt’s trio album, Upside Down Mountain, is available now. Launch it here. You can also learn more about the album by listening to our recent JAZZIZ Podcast conversation with the artist HERE.

Featured photo courtesy of the artist.

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