by Josh Goleman ©2015
Gilad Hekselman has gained a reputation as one of the most promising guitarists in New York since his arrival in 2004. After only a few years, this native Israeli has shared the stage with some of the greatest artists on the New York City jazz scene including Chris Potter, Mark Turner, John Scofield, Anat Cohen, Ari Hoenig, Esperanza Spalding, Sam Yahel, Jeff Ballard, Gretchen Parlato, Avishai Cohen, Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, Tigran Hamasyan, Aaron Parks and Greg Hutchinson. He has played at all the major jazz clubs in New York City including the Blue Note, The Jazz Standard, Dizzy’s Club and Smalls. He is constantly touring world-wide and has played at the most noteworthy of jazz festivals including Montreux, North Sea, Montreal & San Francisco.
Gilad was the winner of the Gibson Montreux International Guitar Competition in 2005. He opened for guitar legend Paco de Lucia at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2006, which then led to a string of performances at the IAJE Conference. That same year Gilad released his debut album SplitLife (Smalls Records), recorded with bassist Joe Martin and drummer Ari Hoenig. It received rave reviews from the press as did his second album, Words Unspoken (LateSet Records), recorded and released in 2008 with Joe Martin, drummer Marcus Gilmore and tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm. In 2009, Gilad recorded three tracks for Walt Disney Records, one of which was included in the record Everybody Wants To Be a Cat (2011). The album features versions to Disney songs played by a top-shelf lineup of musicians including Dave Brubeck, Joshua Redman, Esperanza Spalding, Diane Reeves, Roy Hargrove, Kurt Rosenwinkel, The Bad Plus and many other jazz legends.
In the spring of 2010 Gilad recorded his third album, Hearts Wide Open, with Joe Martin on bass, Marcus Gilmore on drums and world-renowned saxophonist Mark Turner, a project that Gilad defined at the time as his “best recorded work so far”. The album received rave reviews globally and was featured in many Best-of-2011 lists such as the “New York Times”, “Amazon” and “iTunes”.
In April 2013, Gilad released his fourth album, titled This Just In, under the JazzVillage label of Harmonia Mundi. Recorded in New York by Michael Cisneros Perez, the new album features Gilad Hekselman, Joe Martin & Marcus Gilmore and also showcases Mark Turner on three title numbers. The album plays out like a news broadcast, peppered with short, improvised news breaks, each testing the boundaries of style and genre in their own way, and together the tracks shed light on the many musical styles that have influenced him over the years. Classic jazz, rock, folk, African, Israeli and North Indian classical music converge in this beautiful collection of songs, creating a powerfully diverse and unique album that features Gilad’s harmonic and rhythmic mastery while showcasing the melodic virtuosity that has become his trademark.
In October 2015 Gilad released his fourth album under the Harmonia Mundi banner (JazzVillage). This new disc, titled Homes, is a wonderful exploration of his trips, capturing their distinct musical personalities as well as the human values they represent.
Born in Israel in 1983, Gilad studied classical piano from age 6 and began studying guitar at the age of 9. From the ages 12 to 14 he performed regularly with the band of a weekly children’s television show. He attended the prestigious Thelma Yellin School of Arts, graduating with excellence from the Jazz department at the age of 18. Gilad received the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship for studies abroad to attend The New School in New York, where he completed his BFA in performing arts in 2008. He plays hand-made guitars by Victor Baker.
Gilad Hekselman Trio
Gilad Hekselman: Guitar
Rick Rosato: Bass
Jonathan Pinson: Drums