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Yosef Gutman Levitt - Soul Song (Soul Song)

21 June 2023

Bassist and composer Yosef Gutman Levitt continues his prolific ways with Soul Song, the first album on his new imprint of the same name. For this record of jazz and Hasidic niguim, Levitt is joined by an old pal: guitarist Lionel Loueke, with whom Levitt collaborated when both were students at Berklee College of Music years ago. Accompanied by drummer Ofri Nehemya and pianist Omri Mor, the pair reconnect their chemistry on a set of contemplative Levitt tunes that favor melody over firepower. Loueke and Mor take on the lion’s share of development, playing lines and chords that hold hands out to listeners, rather than step up to show off. “Song of the Sea,” “Hashkama,” and the title track field gorgeous tunes that avoid sap thanks to Nehemya’s busy cymbal work and the principals’ soulful touch. “Kol Dodi” and both takes on “Kave El Hashem” proffer energetic grooves drawn from Levitt and Loueke’s African heritage that spur the melodists into brisker action. There’s simply a lot of beauty on this disk, with the kind of magic that makes one hope Levitt and Loueke don’t let Soul Song be a one-off.