Gilad Hekselman: The jazz man who’s as smooth as can be.

First off, I want to thank one of my favorite guitarists Tosin Abasi for promoting Gilad a few years ago which led me to discovering such an amazing guitar player.  Theres a lot to discuss, so let’s dig in shredders.

I have been on a huge search personally for finding a great modern day jazz guitarist and took me quite a while.  He is at the top of my list currently without a doubt in my heart.  Gilad as an instrumentalist from Israel who currently resides in New York City.  He has put out a handful of albums so far most recently “Homes”.  Verona is one of my favorites from the album. In college I took music classes and one I took was the History of Jazz.  Initially and understandably I was interested in classic players most notably Django Reinhardt and Freddie Green.

What really strikes me about Gilad is his amazing ear for melody while he’s playing…….artistically I’m trying to say he’s sneaky.  Sneaky as in playing a quick lick or a few melodic notes in between chords that add a ton of flavor to his compositions.  He goes off on some tangents, then comes back down to earth to keep a great rhythm.  Gilad and his band have never ever bored me anytime.

For a guy in his early 30’s he has some serious credentials he isn’t just playing around town.  Gilad won the 2005 Gibson Montreal Guitar Competition which is a huge blues and jazz festival.  He started studying classical piano at 6 and guitar at age 9.  Gilad has won various Israeli awards as well for his excellence.  He was born in Israel in 1983 having only been in New York City since 2004.  He opened for Paco De Luca in 2006 at the Montreux Jazz Festival.  Gilad is no slouch and not only has impressive music but a huge catalog of awards and honors to back him up at such a young age who is on track for serious greatness.

He has a killer band that backs him up and lets him play so freely.  Marcus Gilmore is a very good drummer.  He has a great knack of playing ever so smoothly…..and knowing when to go all out.  What impressed me most with Gilmore’s drumming is he knows how to add flavor to the songs.  Joe Martin has such great chemistry with the band that its absolutely inspiring.  He plays the classic standup bass which has always had a great tone to them.  The acoustics are just so natural and are like no other.  Joe has a great feel of what to play in every occasion and doesn’t overplay or underplay anything.  Hekselman has also recruited Mark Turner an extraordinary tenor saxophone player to play on a few of his albums recently as well.

Gilad is a jazz prodigy who personally isn’t even at his highest potential yet…..I fully believe he is extremely capable of greater things artistically than he has already accomplished.







Categories: Jazz, Opinion Piece

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