The Pursuit of Simplicity in Music: Yosef Gutman Levitt

Yosef Gutman Levitt, a South African-born and Jerusalem-based musician, has released his first trio recording, Upside Down Mountain. Accompanying musicians Ofri Nehemya and Omri Mor caught my attention in the first place. I know that both musicians have worked with many names, especially bassist Avishai Cohen. Despite his young age, Nehemiah has the wisdom of a mature drummer, while Mor’s lyrical piano style is full of Middle Eastern scents. But Gutman is a new discovery for me. Bass guitar is sometimes used as an expression that is used in the showcase of flamboyant music and that does not fully reflect the nature of the instrument with its effects and slap playing styles in my humble opinion. Gutman’s claim in this album is to capture an open-hearted and instinctively melodic, sincere performance style. For this reason, he chooses his bass playing both traditionally and melodically but especially musical role.

The melancholy that penetrates into the improvisation techniques of musicians Gutman spends time with their music such as Steve Swallow, Egberto Gismonti and Lars Danielsson, also spreads to Levitt’s performance style.

Gutman describes himself as an improviser rather than a composer. He produced the album with his heart and improvisational aspect by staying alone and chatting. He shared some of the draft materials, which he recorded on his tape recorder without any preparation and beautification, with his co-producer Gilad Ronen. 

The first time the album is played on your music player, you will be surprised by the simplicity of the compositions and the feeling of relaxation it creates. It is a sincere album that does not need to be one note less or one note more. Upside Down Mountain, which consists of gentle, rhythmic and melodic compositions inspired by the repetitive structures in Hasidic Nigun, was released on September 30th.

You can buy the album here

Burak Sülünbaz

Co-Founder, Jazz Writer // Kurucu Ortak, Caz Yazarı

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