GILAD HEKSELMAN, HEARTS WIDE OPEN


The prologue and epilogue of “Hearts Wide Open” (Chant du Monde Records) may be dusted with carefree whistling but in between the guitarist Gilad Hekselman arrays eight seriously great originals that gracefully expand the horizons of jazz guitar with melodious rock and folk influences. His phrasing has a satisfying fullness while his solos have a way of connecting deeply. Songs like “Hazelnut Eyes” and “The Bucket Kicker” match the guitarist with bassist Joe Martin and drummer Marcus Gilmore and the musical effect is that of a larger band where Hekselman’s silky arrangements and orderly runs are skillfully underscored by nimble bass notes and percussive rhythms. Other tracks add saxophonist Mark Turner to the mix, most effectively on “One More Song,” a whirling folk-inspired narrative with a melodic hook that the saxophonist turns over and over on the chorus. Drummer Gilmore invokes the usual awe with his profound timekeeping. His fills and dexterous sense of swing is starkly evident on “Brooze,” a slow blues with a lazy gait and a hot center that’s set afire by Hekselman’s electrifying solo. Somewhat unusual for a jazz record, the guitarist makes room for a power ballad called “Understanding” that heaves under a sturdy backbeat and emotive melody that signifies the guitarist’s cool confidence. An Israeli native and New Yorker since 2004, Hekselman successfully plumbs the zeitgeist of his peers, striking a perfect balance on “Hearts Wide Open” between accessibility and the improvised go-anywhere storytelling that is progressive jazz. (10 tracks; 60:14 minutes)

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JAZZ IN SPACE: GILAD HEKSELMAN, HEARTS WIDE OPEN

Saturday, December 3, 2011

GILAD HEKSELMAN, HEARTS WIDE OPEN


The prologue and epilogue of “Hearts Wide Open” (Chant du Monde Records) may be dusted with carefree whistling but in between the guitarist Gilad Hekselman arrays eight seriously great originals that gracefully expand the horizons of jazz guitar with melodious rock and folk influences. His phrasing has a satisfying fullness while his solos have a way of connecting deeply. Songs like “Hazelnut Eyes” and “The Bucket Kicker” match the guitarist with bassist Joe Martin and drummer Marcus Gilmore and the musical effect is that of a larger band where Hekselman’s silky arrangements and orderly runs are skillfully underscored by nimble bass notes and percussive rhythms. Other tracks add saxophonist Mark Turner to the mix, most effectively on “One More Song,” a whirling folk-inspired narrative with a melodic hook that the saxophonist turns over and over on the chorus. Drummer Gilmore invokes the usual awe with his profound timekeeping. His fills and dexterous sense of swing is starkly evident on “Brooze,” a slow blues with a lazy gait and a hot center that’s set afire by Hekselman’s electrifying solo. Somewhat unusual for a jazz record, the guitarist makes room for a power ballad called “Understanding” that heaves under a sturdy backbeat and emotive melody that signifies the guitarist’s cool confidence. An Israeli native and New Yorker since 2004, Hekselman successfully plumbs the zeitgeist of his peers, striking a perfect balance on “Hearts Wide Open” between accessibility and the improvised go-anywhere storytelling that is progressive jazz. (10 tracks; 60:14 minutes)

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