I remember hearing a recording of guitarist Gilad Hekselman for the first time back in 2011 and being knocked out by his music. That album title gives an indication of his appeal – it was called Hearts Wide Open.
Homes is equally aptly named, especially as it comprises a suite of tunes dedicated to the fact that the touring musician – and particularly one with his heart, and ears, open to the places he visits – ends up with multiple homes not only for himself but also for his music.
Hekselman’s particular homes include Verona, home to all lovers with Romeo and Juliet heading the field, Paris (Bud Powell’s Parisian Thoroughfare), and, in a wider context, Space. In addition to mostly his own compositions there are tunes by Baden Powell (Samba em Preludio) and Pat Metheny (Last Train Home).
The band is a trio with regular bassist Joe Martin and drummer Marcus Gilmore. Jeff Ballard guests on a couple. It’s also great to see Michael Perez-Cisneros prominently credited and pictured on the CD cover as another member of the band, because the sound on this recording is spectacularly good.
Hekselman is a hugely versatile guitarist, whether sliding around the bebop scales on the Bud, lyrically picking his way through the bossa of Baden, or making Pat’s tune very much his own, and he is a strong composer too – just try Verona for a solid gold example. Most importantly, he is a musician who delivers not just the notes and chords in appealing and intellectually stimulating ways but gives the listener something else as well – call it heart and soul.
Here is a taste of the album:
Gilad Hekselman played this music last month at the Cornelia Street Cafe and Smalls in Manhattan as well as The Bronx Museum, and he will be at the Silvershine Jazz Club in Bearwood, Birmingham, on Sunday with Joe Martin and Kush Abadey. This is something of a coup for Silvershine (Hekselman visited the club as a soloist earlier this year and clearly found a welcome worth coming back to) so heartiest congratulations to them. Gilad will be doing a workshop on Sunday afternoon and then a performance at 7pm.
- Full details and booking are here.