“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 is rich and layered with influences from a variety of musical traditions, building on her Middle-Eastern and European lineage, as well as inspirations from avant-jazz, multidisciplinary arts, and contemporary composers. Ayelet performs globally, sharing her music with audiences big and small. She has lived in twenty-four apartments, ten cities, five countries, four continents. Finally, she has made a home with her family in Montréal, Canada.
Her Collaborations with musicians such as composer/saxophonist John Zorn, guitarist Aram Bajakian, pianist Anat Fort, vocalist Jay Clayton and many others, have earned her a reputation as a leading voice in cutting-edge jazz and new-music. 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.
A graduate of New England Conservatory, she has studied with masters of the Third Stream movement, including pianist Ran Blake, vocalist Dominique Eade, composer George Russell, and bassist Cecil McBee. She was chosen to be a member the school’s “Honours Ensemble”, during which time she worked with composer Gunther Schuller, on a re-imagining of his composition “Arab Village”.
Since moving to NYC in 2001, she has released six albums of her original compositions, including “Mayim Rabim” (Tzadik Records, 2006), a song cycle based on erotic biblical poetry; “Roadsides” (self release, 2013) featuring her compositions to contemporary Israeli and Palestinian poetry, and “Shiv’a” (482music, 2016), a suite of instrumental compositions for string quartet & percussion, inspired by Jewish and Buddhist rituals of mourning. Composed for Satoshi Takeishi and ETHEL String Quartet
Since 2012, Ayelet has lived in Vancouver, Canada. Her upcoming release, “Who Has Seen The Wind”, brings forth some of the music she created during her time there. It is the debut recording of her new quartet Pneuma of three clarinets and voice, including Vancouver-based virtuoso François Houle. The album is anticipated for release in mid-2019 on the Canadian record label Songlines Records. Stay tuned for upcoming tour dates in 2019-2020!
Pianist Anat Fort and Ayelet have been working together for over a decade, playing in duo and within larger ensembles, including performances at Israel’s Culture Center in Tel Aviv, Novara Jazz Festival in Italy and Vancouver Jazz Festival in Canada. Their first album as a duo, “Two More Dreams” was released in 2017, and presents a collection of lullabies for all ages. In the winter of 2017, supported by Canada Council for the Arts, they toured Israel in celebration of this album. A tour that is bearing fruits with further invitations to perform in Israel, including the 2018 Jerusalem Jazz Festival, where the two will perform alongside saxophonist Erik Lawrence.
Mycale is a collaborative, multi-cultural a-cappella quartet – Ayelet Rose Gottlieb (Canada / Israel), Sofia Rei (USA / Argentina), Sara Serpa (USA /Portugal) and Malika Zara (Germany / Morocco). The four were commissioned by composer John Zorn to arrange, perform and record two albums for his cult-series “Masada”. Their albums “Masada Book II: The Book of Angels”, Vol 13 & 25, were highlighted by Ben Ratliff in the New York Times: “the group’s second record is astonishingly beautiful, a high point in the series: The singers’ individually rigorous tones and dispositions and arranging impulses surround the music and give it another dimension of originality; it sounds medieval and new at the same time.” They have toured in South America, Australia, Canada, USA, Israel and Europe alongside musicians such as cellist Erik Friedlander, trumpeter Dave Douglas and vocalist Mike Patton.
Growing up in a musical home, Ayelet was exposed to a great variety of sounds from a young age. She grew up around stacks of vinyl, collected by her father, uncle and paternal-grandfather. Records that still spin in her home. 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. The soundtrack of her childhood spanned from J. S. Bach to Leonard Cohen to Spanish guitar, Turkish oud, French chanson, Laurie Anderson, Chava Alberstein, Oum Koulthum, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane and more. All of these sounds informed her eclectic musical sensibility.
At 17, Ayelet met saxophonist Arnie Lawrence, a New Yorker who relocated to Israel in the last decade of his life after having played with everyone from Dizzie Gillespie to Liza Minnelli. Ayelet performed with him in Israel and Palestine until his death in 2005 and considers him her most significant mentor. Arnie expanded her ability to listen, in music and in life. He created shared spaces between traditionalists and free improvisers, between Arabs and Jews, between the religious and the secular, between adults and children. This year, Ayelet will release an album in tribute to Arnie, in collaboration with his son, Erik Lawrence. “I Carry Your Heart” revisits the idea of Arnie’s 1970 release on Embryo Records, titled “Inside An Hourglass”, in which he played with his band as well as his then 8 year-old boy Erik (Rickie), and Richard Davis’ boy Dickie, 4 year old at the time.
“I Carry Your Heart”, anticipated for release on “Ride Symbol Records” in early 2019, features Ayelet, Erik (now an adult), pianist Anat Fort, and Ayelet’s three small children who were 2yr and 7mo at the time of the recording. This collaboration was recently highlighted at this year’s Jerusalem Jazz Festival, artistically directed by trumpeter Avishai Cohen. Stay tuned for 2019-2020 tour dates!
Ayelet’s earlier albums can be found on:
Tzadik Records: Mayim Rabim, 2006; Mycale: Book of Angels, Vol 13, 2010; Gomory: Book of Angels, Vol 25, 2015; 482music: limited edition vinyl + digital release Shiv’a, 2016; self-published titles: Internal-External, 2004; Upto Here | From Here, 2009; Roadsides, 2013; “Two More Dreams” 2017.
Upcoming releases: Ride Symbol Records: I Carry Your Heart, 2018; Songlines Records: Who Has Seen The Wind, 2019
Ayelet 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.