Yosef Gutman Levitt: Soul Song

Out of music for some years, the Israeli bassist reunites with his Berklee mate Lionel Loueke in a mellifluous set reminiscent of Pat Metheny


Bass player Yosef Gutman Levitt is an alumnus of the Berklee College of Music, where he met guitarist Lionel Loueke. He played regularly with the guitarist in Brooklyn before moving to Jerusalem in 2009, deserting music in the process. After many years away from the scene he returned to the fold a handful of years ago, presenting us with the trio album Upside Down Mountain prior to the release of Soul Song where he reunites with Loueke.

This latest disc carries the optimistic atmosphere of those Pat Metheny groups with a similar front line, albeit minus the electricity. The emphasis is on melody, as evident in the simple but attractive themes supplied by the leader. The rhythmic emphasis owes much to Africa (Loueke comes from Benin) although this is not exclusive in these 14 compositions.

There is not an ugly note or phrase to behold: the guitarist’s lines are cleanliness personified and he favours an amplified acoustic. This approach to performance is mirrored by the warming sounds from the pianist. The leader on the whole prefers to take a back seat, letting his fellow musicians and his tunes do the talking for him.

Some may find this music a little too basic for their jazz-orientated ears but your reviewer found it a charming experience.

Chai Elul; Soul Song; Myriad; Song Of The Sea; The Tender Eyes Of Leah; Amud Anan Duet – Pillar Of Cloud; Torah Tsiva; Kave El Hashem – Hope; Devotion; Tikun – Amend; Kol Dodi; Desert Song; Hashkama – Up Early; Amud Anan – Pillar Of Cloud (61.04)
Lionel Loueke (g); Omri Mor (p); Ofri Nehemya (d); Yosef Gutman Levitt (b). Jerusalem, Israel, 2022.
Soul Song Records 008