Song of the Day: Yosef Gutman, “Wedding Song”

Bassist/composer Yosef Gutman Levitt shares music from his first-ever trio album as a leader.

From his upbringing on a South African farm outside Johannesburg to his present-day life in Jerusalem, Israel, the life of bassist/composer Yosef Gutman Levitt (also simply known as Yosef Gutman) has been quite a journey. After attending the Berklee College of Music in the late 1990s and subsequently playing on the New York scene in the early 2000s, the bassist/composer put his music career on a temporary hiatus and started what became a thriving internet business that he sold in 2018 to return to music full-time.

Since that return, Levitt has further developed and explored a personal sound that, as he has explained in his own words on our recent podcast conversation with him, he believes he would never have come to had he not taken that decision to step away from music for a period of time in his life. It is a sound that he has explored in a variety of configurations and placed within a trio setting on his latest album, Upside Down Mountain, which he describes as “a story of a love so great; it’s as if a mountain is being held over our heads that at any time could be dropped – a love that’s compelling and leaves no room as even a shadow of a doubt.”

The album, released earlier this year, incidentally also marks his trio debut album as a leader and showcases his chemistry with the musicians of the trio he put together for the project, with Omni Mor on piano and Ofri Nehemya on drums. Upside Down Mountain features a program of all-original material, which opens with “Wedding Song,” a beautiful piece radiating warmth and driven by expressive melodies that we have chosen as today’s Song of the Day. Interestingly, Levitt considers himself more of an improviser than a composer and all the pieces on Upside Down Mountain were conceived in a single sitting, improvising “whatever flower freely from my heart without thinking, editing or perfecting.”

Yosef Gutman Levitt’s Upside Down Mountain is available now. Order it here. You can also click here to listen to our recent JAZZIZ Podcast interview with the bassist/composer.

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