Friday, November 14, 2014

Ayelet Rose Gottlieb, Roadsides

Some albums are so unique one has to think for a minute before one tries to describe what you will hear. That is very true of Israeli singer-songwriter Ayelet Rose Gottlieb and her recent Roadsides (Arogole Music 021). Ayelet composed a series of 12 songs based on the work of Palestinian and Israeli poets, a gesture of solidarity with the people of the entire region one has to appreciate.

She does the singing and it has nuance and an expressive beauty. The songs are what one might call Mid-Eastern jazz with an emphasis on song form, some songs being squarely in a very modern-ish ECM-like or otherwise jazz zone, with the Mid-Eastern tonal minor element coming to the fore or receding a bit depending on the song. The ensemble that accompanies her reinforces that two-world (or is it three?) sound via an eclectic mix of oud and violin, guitar, piano, acoustic bass and drums, with the addition of traditional percussionists, etc., from time to time. Some songs have a jazz-rock underpinning, some not, but all are quite interesting in their arrangements, in their song-ful-ness and in their vocal presence.

The result is a modern pan-Israeli-Palestinian music that has much charm and substance if one opens up to it. Fascinating and rewarding listening!

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