Ayelet Rose Gottlieb
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Ayelet Rose Gottlieb


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"Time Out NY"

"Her band features scene heavyweights"

"Consider this the countdown to the release of Mayim Rabim (Tzadik), singer-arranger Ayelet Rose Gottlieb's new album devoted to "erotic" Biblical poetry- something we think the Bush II era could use lots more of. Her band features scene heavyweights Anat Fort (piano) and Ed Schuller (bass)." - June 2006


"Mayim Rabim is a small wonder, a beautiful gem"

Ayelet Rose Gottlieb is an Israeli singer who lives in New York. Her music walks a wonderfully dizzy line between jazz, Sephardic, and klezmer traditions, and Middle Eastern rhythmic influences. The texts on Mayim Rabim come from the Song of Songs in the Old Testament. This cycle reflects the wonderfully sensual and deeply erotic themes found within its rich language. The chapters are from two through eight, and various verses in this gorgeous text are used repetitively, as are they in the Bible itself. Along with Rose Ayelet Gottlieb are Michael Gottlieb, backing vocalist Deanna Neil, and Michal Cohen. The band is comprised of Michael Winograd on clarinet and bass clarinet, Anat Fort on piano, Rufus Cappadocia on cello, and Takeshi Toriyama on drums. A Persian trope is used on two tracks, played by Galeet Dardashti. The set kicks off with hand drums, and Gottlieb's voice backed by Neil's. The piano and cello enter later, and the bass clarinet articulates her melodic statements moving them toward modal jazz. She chants and sings all through the lyric, never above or below it, on the stunning "Tapuah." On "Al Mishkavi," Gottlieb begins a cappella, piano and bass clarinet enter in the complex melody and wind around it as her voice becomes another instrument, underscoring her lyrics with wordless vocals that hover and shimmer with the cello. "Libavtini," with its mournful yet romantic cello and piano lines, introduces us to words sung in Hebrew, first by Michael Gottlieb in his throaty, low rasp: "You have captivated my heart -- My sister, my bride/You have captivated my heart." He is answered by the female chorus accepting of his praises and then the Gottliebs sing in duet "How wonderful is your love -- my sister, my bride/Your love is better than wine." All around them, a Jewish folk melody wanders in and around the voices on piano and cello. The album closes with title cut, it commences in mournful a cappella by Gottlieb, who is answered by Neil before a piano enters with two notes. The women's voices entwine in the next verse, again unaccompanied before the tune fully articulates itself with bells, piano, and a whispering cello. "Who is that rising from the desert/With her head on her lover's shoulders/Under the apple tree I aroused you/There your mother conceived you/There you were born/ Place me as a seal upon your heart/As a seal upon your arm For love is stronger than death....." Tension builds, and builds, and is released slowly and purposefully. The elegance in this music is juxtaposed against the rawness of its sensuality. In short Mayim Rabim is a small wonder, a beautiful gem, bringing one of the more essential Old Testament texts to life in music and song. - August 2006

"New York Press"

What do you say about a serious jazz musician and vocalist who plays a balloon? Ayelet Rose Gottlieb finds this "liberating" and may make it her performance signature. She takes what is at hand in her life and connects it with her musical training, her heritage and her creative instincts. She confesses to doing much of her work on the subway and in the shower, when the mind is relaxed. ("It's a good time to process what you feel, what you think.") She relates to the filmed image of eccentric Canadian pianist, Glenn Gould, practicing inside his head.

Ninety percent of what Gottlieb performs are her own compositions. These are inspired by color, texture, and texts including paintings by Wassily Kandinsky and passages from the Bible. But she says, "The first powerful thing I feel is color. I see color and sound as closely related."

Gottlieb was born and raised in Jerusalem and traces her maternal family's Sephardic roots back 21 generations in the city, after the family was expelled from Spain in 1492. Her father, an economist, is of Swiss and Eastern European-Jewish descent.His stint with the International Monetary Fund brought Gottlieb to the U.S. for her second and third years of elementary school, which explains her nearly flawless English.

Gottlieb returned to the U.S. to complete her university education at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she majored in jazz performance and composition. Her first CD, Internal-External, includes works by Charles Mingus, Walter Donaldson and Ornette Coleman, along with her own. She has written lyrics for Coleman's "Peace."

Tonight Gottlieb celebrates the release of Internal-External, and her voice is backed by piano, trumpet, sax, bass and drums. You might even catch her playing her balloon.
- March 2004

"Cadence Magazine"

Ayelet Rose Gottlieb's CD is unlike the others in that she only does one standard, "You're Driving Me Crazy", and she is more of a "fold into the band" type singer who improvises with her group instead of singing in front of it. That's evident from the start on Ornette Coleman's "Peace" where she goes from moaning along with Matana Roberts' alto solo on the melody to aggressive scatting against Ed Schuller's solid walking bass. On other pieces like "What's Done is Done" and "Brewing The Brews", she blends right in and you focus more on other parts of the band like Matt Mitchell's drunken piano and Avishai Cohen's buzzing-fly trumpet.

Elsewhere, "Portrait Of You" is a complex tune that mixes in tangled, bruised guitar and whipcrack bass and drums. "As I Lay" is a treatment of part of the Song of Solomon that floats mistily with piano, trumpet, and Gottlieb's siren wail. Charles Mingus' "Portrait" mixes the same three elements to achieve Mingus' singular romantic style. The CD ends with a bit of poetry recited over music that wobbles between exuberant and eerie before trailing off into a ghostly blues. This is an intricate record full of twists and turns, a true group effort that shows Ayelet Rose Gottlieb has enormous promise as both a singer and composer - December 2004

"All About Jazz- NY"

Mayim Rabim, the newest CD from Israeli-born vocalist Ayelet Rose Gottlieb, is replete with compositions that are able to stand on their own as superb improvisational vehicles for a fine eclectic group of musicians- pianist Anat Fort, clarinetist Michael Winograd (whose development into a world class klezmer-jazz artist continues to impress), drummer Take Toriyama, cellist Rufus Cappadocia and four additional vocalists - to deliver these sensual pieces. Lyrically, these works draw on material from the Bible's most erotic literature, Shir Hashirim, or Song of Songs, each song being a celebration of love with an emphasis on its passion.
Like love itself, many emotions weave their way through these pieces: the initial wonderment which that turns to exhilaration so beautifully stated on "Libavtini (Captivated My Heart)" as clarinet joyously sings above vocal chorus, the frank percussive sensuality of "Pithi Li (Open Up)", the stark heartache portrayed by Gottlieb's textural vocals and Fort's piano on "Patahti (I Opened)" and love's all consuming enormity expressed by "Mayim Rabim (Great Waters)". Singing primarily in Hebrew, Gottlieb both soars vocally and uses her voice as equal instrumental partner. She most impresses, however, with her ability to convey a line with devotion and phrasing that powerfully straddles jazz, cantorial and the avant garde. Her brother Michael contributed the perfect male vocal balance on selected cuts, the Persian trope chanting of Galeet Dardashti beautifully blends with the overall erotic exotica feel and background vocalists Deanna Neil and Michal Cohen add to the powerful breadth of the sound. When viewed holistically, Mayim Rabim succeeds both musically and conceptually, one of the year's finest vocal releases.

- September 2006

"Global Rhythm"

Avant-garde yet surprisingly accessible.

Ayelet Gottlieb- Ancient Hebrew erotica doesn't exactly seem like an obvious theme for an album, but that's precisely theterritory covered on Ayelet Rose Gottlieb's Mayim Rabim, the follow-up to her 2004 debut Internal-External and her second release on John Zorn's Tzadik label. The vocalist, composer and arranger, born in Jerusalem, studied both jazz and classical music through high school, and began performing with saxophonist Arnie Lawrence at age 17 in th small but dynamic Jerusalem scene. "At 18 I moved to Ramat Hasharon to study at Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music. There I studied with Yair Dalal and began developing a deeper interest in Arabic and Middle-Eastern music", she recalls.
But it wasn't untill completing her musical education at the New England Conservatory in Boston, studying with Dominique Eade, RAn Blake, George Russell adn Hankus Netsky, that she galvainzed her musical style. "Hankus Netsky made me see the beauty within traditional Jewish music, which up to that point never really resonated with me."
Mayim Rabim is a 10-track song cycle whose Hebrew lyrics Gottlieb adapted from the erotic Songs of Solomon. "I was amazed to find a book within the Bible that not once mentions God", Gottlieb says. "Then to discover that so much of the Song of Songs is written from a female perspective. I never read such incredible love poetry that truly portraid for me the full spectrum of what love is, from flirting to sex, from blindness to harsh awakenings and realizations, from extasy to deep pain." Ayelet Rose Gottlieb's popularity has yet to resonate to biblical proportions, but Mayim Rabim is a promising second album from an artist on her way. - March 2007, Spotlight Feature


InTernal - ExTernal
Genevieve Records, GR 30602
March 2004

Mayim Rabim
Tzadik Records, TZ 8108
June 2006

Upto Here |From Here (Sextet Record)
Anticipated: 2008



Ayelet's sound draws on a wide range of musical approaches. In her music you will find a unique improvisational approach infused with elaborate composition, spiced up with Middle Eastern scales and adventurous texts.

Ayelet's anticipated second CD was released in 2006 for John Zorn's Tzadik Records. Mayim Rabim features a song cycle she composed to 10 segments of text from the erotic biblical love poem "Song of Songs". "Mayim Rabim is a small wonder, a beautiful gem" said Billboard.

Gottlieb collaborates with director Franny Silverman and video artist Renate Aller to transform Mayim Rabim / Great Waters into a multi-media performance piece. Their collaboration received a BRIC (www.briconline.com) grant and residency and was performed as part of the 2007 BRIClab season.

All About Jazz-NY chose Gottlieb's debut album InTernal- ExTernal as "Best Debut CD of 2004". This Genevieve Records release was described as "One of the finest vocal discs of late" by JazzLoft.com. Ralph Selliger of the New York Press described her musical esthetic: "She takes what is at hand in her life and connects it with her musical training, her heritage and her creative instinct".

The InTernal-ExTernal project modulated and became Ayelet's Jazz Sextet. With this band she continually performs in various NYC Jazz clubs such as Sweet Rhythm, Cornelia Street Cafe, Bowery Poetry Club and Makor. The band, in all its incarnations, has been working together since 2002.

Currently Ayelet is collaborating with Basya Schechter (voice), Jon Madof (guitar) and Shanir Blumnkrantz (bass) towards a recording of their interpretations to compositions by John Zorn.

Ayelet has collaborated, performed and / or recorded with artists such as Joe Lovano, John Abercrombie, John Zorn, Ed Schuller, Yitzhak Yedid, Arnie Lawrence, Anat Fort, Paquito De'Rivera, Alon Yavnai, the Israel Contemporary String Quartet, Rufus Cappadocia, Judi Silvano, Avishai Cohen, Loren Stillman, Frank London, Perry Robinson, and Sir George Martin.

She performed in concert halls including the Israeli Opera House (TLV), Alice Tully Hall (NY), Jordan Hall (Boston), Safra Hall (NY), and in festivals and conventions including Sephardic Music Festival (NY), and Israel Festival (Jerusalem, TLV)

Gottlieb was born in 1979 in Jerusalem, Israel. Her mother's family traces Sephardic roots in Jerusalem back to 1492, while her father is an immigrant from Switzerland. She was surrounded by countless kinds of music from day one. During her childhood and youth Ayelet played classical flute, and studied at the Arts High School in Jerusalem. While in Israel Ayelet often collaborated with Saxophone great- Arnie Lawrence.

Ayelet moved to Boston in 2000 to complete her musical education at New England Conservatory. While there, she studied with such notable jazz artists as Dominique Eade, Ran Blake and George Russell and was chosen to be a member of the Conservatory's Honors Improvisation Ensemble (2000-01).

Currently living in New York, Ayelet continues to explore the elaborate world of music making. Besides working on her own projects, Ayelet composes and performs musical scores for theater groups such as the "Bull Family Orchestra" and "StorahTelling". Ayelet's music was recently featured on Marcia Jean Kurtz's Between Two Worlds (HB Playwrites Theater)