“Gottlieb is an extraordinary woman. She seems to be made completely of music”
~ Raul da Gama, World Music Report
Jerusalem-born vocalist / composer / improviser Ayelet Rose Gottlieb creates from within the details of every-day life, shedding a musical spotlight on the golden moments hidden in the cracks of the mundane. Her distinct sound and unique voice are rich and layered with influences from a variety of musical traditions, building on her Middle-Eastern and European lineage, as well as inspiration drawn from her years of nomadic living. Classically trained from a young age, improvisation is at the core of Ayelet’s work, which is deeply rooted in the jazz and blues traditions. She has a profound interest in large-scale, detailed composition, as well as in working within intimate small settings to create fully improvised sets of music. Ayelet performs globally at Jazz Festivals, concert series, and clubs, sharing her music with audiences big and small. She has lived in twenty-one apartments, nine cities, five countries, four continents. The three places that will forever be her homes are Jerusalem – her birthplace, NYC – where her musician-heart is, and Vancouver, where her children were born, and her new community is forming.
Collaborating is one of the greatest joys for Ayelet, especially since she works with some of the world’s most adventurous improvising musicians, including composer John Zorn, as a founding member of his vocal quartet Mycale (featuring fellow vocalists Sara Serpa, Sofia Rei and Malika Zarra); guitarist Aram Bajakian, percussionist Satoshi Takeishi, the string quartet known as ETHEL, and many others. One of her most significant collaborations is with pianist Anat Fort. The two began working together in NYC in 2004, and discovered a true soul connection that is ongoing to this day. In November 2017, they will release their first duo recording, “Od Halomotaim / Two More Dreams”, which reveals an intimate set of lullabies for all ages.
In the summer of 2017, Ayelet was commissioned by the Vancouver Jazz Fest to create a new set of music, for three clarinets and voice. This program, entitled “Who Has Seen The Wind?”, has launched the quartet Pneuma, in which Ayelet is joined by three renown and remarkable clarinetists-composers-improvisers: Seattle based James Falzone who works at the intersection of jazz, classical and world music traditions; Brooklyn based Michael Winograd, who blends art-song with Klezmer, and Vancouver based Francois Houle, a prolific and diverse musician who combines electronics and extended techniques in his playing. Incorporating poetry, improvisation and contemporary compositions, the premier at the festival lead to a record contract with the Vancouver based record label Songlines. The program was recently recorded and is anticipated for release in mid-2018.
Growing up in a musical home, Ayelet was exposed to a great variety of sounds from a young age. Her father, a non-professional guitarist, instilled in her a deep love of traditional Jazz, American folk music, Spanish guitar, J. S. Bach, Turkish music and more. Her maternal grandfather (a Palestinian-Jew with hands of gold who could speak to animals and told the best stories) loved Arabic music, which he would listen to on the Jordanian radio station. His son, her uncle, gifted her his LP collection when she was 13, and through him, she discovered early electronic music, Laurie Anderson, Israeli 80s punk-rock, The Beatles and more.
Ayelet, who played classical flute until the age of 18, discovered her love for avant-garde and improvised music in her teens, which led her to move to Boston to study at New England Conservatory. There she had the great honour of studying with true masters of the Third Stream movement, including pianist Ran Blake, vocalist Dominique Eade, composer George Russell and bassist Cecil McBee. But her most significant mentor-teacher was the late, great Arnie Lawrence, with whom she performed during her high school years in Israel and Palestine. Arnie taught her to listen, in music and in life, and to find a connection through music in all corners of life. Arnie created shared spaces, between traditionalists and free improvisers, between Arabs and Jews, between religious and secular, between adults and children. In 1970 he recorded an album called “Inside An Hourglass”, in which he played with his band as well as his then 8-year-old boy Erik Lawrence (Rickie), and Richard Davis’ boy Dickie, 4-year-old at the time.
Motherhood took Ayelet by storm as her three children were born within a two-year span. Family has always been at the heart of Ayelet’s life and work (for example, her grandmother’s voice is sampled in the song Venezia). Since the birth of her children, naturally, she brings them into her creative world as well. In 2016, Ayelet recorded an album in tribute to that record by Arnie, along with his (now adult) son Erik, and Anat Fort, as well as her three children (2yo & 7mo at the time!). “I Carry Your Heart” will be released towards the 50th anniversary of Arnie’s original recording.
Ayelet’s earlier albums can be found on John Zorn’s Tzadik Records: Mayim Rabim, 2006; Mycale: Book of Angels, Vol 13, 2010; Gomory: Book of Angels, Vol 25, 2015; on the NY-Chicago based label 482music: limited edition vinyl + digital release Shiv’a; and self-published titles on her own Arogole Music: Internal-External, 2004; Upto Here | From Here, 2009; Roadsides, 2013; She is honoured to have been interviewed for the book “Freedom of Expression: Interviews with Women In Jazz” alongside artists such as Jane Ira Bloom, Connie Corthers, Dee Dee Bridgewater and more.