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” data-original-title title>Gilad Ronen on additional woodwinds, playing mainly Levitt-Ronen originals in a refined and deeply melodic setting. Award-winning engineer Stefano Amerio recorded and mixed the album.

“Gilad Hekselman has a consummate professionalism and an ability that is so broad,” says Levitt. “He’s so authentically expressive in different stylistic realms whether it’s funk and fusion, or bebop, or these simple, streamlined melodies we’re playing here. Gilad also evokes an atmosphere as finely as any top-notch ECM soloist, layering those sweet, lovely effects. It was so wonderful playing with somebody who’s so open and willing to share creatively and has the flexibility to make any musical idea sound great.”

Why Ten? is not a “wailing” guitar record, and yet Hekselman approaches Levitt’s music with the same creative and emotional intensity he documents so brilliantly on his latest release Life, at the Village Vanguard as well as Far Star, Zuperoctave: Eyes of the World, Ask for Chaos and other acclaimed recordings. Hekselman is also a member of

John Raymond
John Raymond


” data-original-title title>John Raymond’s Real Feels trio as well as Trio Grande with

Will Vinson
Will Vinson

saxophone, alto

” data-original-title title>Will Vinson and

Antonio Sanchez
Antonio Sanchez


” data-original-title title>Antonio Sanchez (currently

Nate Wood

” data-original-title title>Nate Wood).

“It was a pleasure to step into Yosef’s musical world for a few magical days in his studio, on a small street of an old Jerusalem neighborhood,” Hekselman recounts. “The music we made was built on trust, and a mutual search for beauty, where less is more.”

Levitt, a religiously observant Jew, has endowed all his music with a sense of spiritual searching and depth, whether he is interpreting Hasidic nigunim on such releases as Ashreinu and Chabad Al Hazman or exploring original music in a more jazz-oriented setting on The World and Its People and Upside Down Mountain.

Why Ten? references the symbolism of the number 10 in Jewish mysticism, in particular the ten utterances of creation, as recorded in the Torah, and the ten supernal sefirot, from kabbalah. The ten utterances represent foundational principles through which the universe came into being, in all its complexity and intentionality. The ten supernal sefirot are attributes or emanations through which the Infinite Divine reveals itself, embodying various facets of existence, from wisdom and understanding to beauty and sovereignty, forming a bridge between the finite and the infinite.

“I invite listeners to ponder the presence of these mystical notions and their relevance to our everyday lives,” says Levitt, “and to invigorate a curiosity around the ideas, with airy creativity that is communicative and playful. The title evokes a sense of wonder and introspection without gravity, encouraging a deeper engagement with the music and the timeless sensations it raises about creation, existence, and the divine order… with a smile!”

Why Ten? also speaks to Levitt’s deep love of collaboration, an increasing focus of his activity as an artist. He is looking outward, finding common purpose with musicians around the world. Hekselman savors the role, switching between electric and acoustic guitars, often layering elements of both, as on the focus title track “Why Ten?” and the closing “Walking in Simplicity.”

“Rushing Rapid,” the leadoff track, is replete with effects and overdrive, with an almost orchestral indie-pop aesthetic. “Bnei Heichala,” “From Darkness to Light” and “From the Water” are electric guitar tracks, rich and round in tone, while “Desert Days,” “Two Souls” and “Route 90” are intimate acoustic pieces, full of contrast and folklike mood. At the center are Levitt’s transparent and soulful legato melodies, which he often voices in unison with Hekselman on his unique five-string acoustic bass guitar (built by Harvey Citron, Steve Swallow’s luthier).

Levitt ventures beautiful bass solos on “Route 90” and “Walking in Simplicity,” while Gilad Ronen’s soprano and tenor saxophones (“Soul Spark”), clarinet (“Two Souls”) and flute (“The Farm of Nerya”) enrich the sonic palette. Nehemya’s taste and dynamic range ensures that every musical story is finely crafted, from the first note to the last.

Levitt launched the Soul Song label with a set of core principles and values in mind: “The goal is to create music, and to create a label that stimulates others to do the same—to make their soul song. To create music that’s intimate, improvisational, with a profound honesty, stripping away anything that’s not needed. What’s important is that the music is inspired by something higher. I want to work with artists who are interested in getting to that place.” New Levitt collaborations are forthcoming with Peter Broderick, Yonathan Avishai, Yagel Harush, Itay Sher, Didi Elinson and more.

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Track Listing

Rushing Rapid;
Why Ten?;
Nigun 551;
B’Nei Heichala;
Desert Days;
From Darkness To Light;
From The Water;
Arava Route 90;
Soul Spark;
Neria’S Farm;
Two Souls;
Walking In Simplicity.


Album information

Title: Why Ten?
| Year Released: 2024
| Record Label: Soul Song Records

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