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Gilad Hekselman: Ask For Chaos

Gareth Thompson By

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Be careful what you ask for if chaos is on the wish list. Israeli-born guitarist Gilad Hekselman invited disorder on this, his sixth outing, by employing two distinct backing bands. And there is fun to be had in spotting discrepancies between the combos. Representing the more avant elements are Zuperoctave, whilst a touch of trad comes via gHex Trio who were urged by Hekselman to keep him on his toes.

The album's title draws on the political climate of its time and also Hekselman becoming a father. "You ask for chaos in order to make progress," he says. And what progress there has been for him, since moving from near Tel Aviv to New York on a cultural scholarship. A prog-rocker who was later enticed by jazz, he won the 2005 Gibson Montreux International Guitar Competition.

Ask For Chaos is the first release from Hekselman's label Hexophonic, in collaboration with Motéma whose own wide roster includes Lakecia Benjamin and Roman Diaz. It is also the first of Hekselman's works to feature piano, courtesy of Zuperoctave's Aaron Parks. Indeed it is Parks who makes the album's first telling contribution on the melodic "VBlues" where his Fender flows sensually as if played by Espen Eriksen. Hekselman then turns a cartwheeling riff into quick-witted solos, all picked with clean distortion.

Hekselman plays with a feather-light touch, but uses an octave pedal on some tracks to compensate for a lack of bassist. Another piece with Zuperoctave is "Tokyo Cookie" where drum pads zip some synth-like zaps over Hekselman's strangled chords and liberated runs. "Stumble" is based on Wayne Shorter's showpiece number "Fall," covered beautifully by trumpeter David Weiss on his Shorter tribute album. But here the autumnal chords are shaken apart into crisp guitar notes, with the piano adding elegant whimsy.

"Home to You" is a barroom romance with Hekselman neatly matching the keyboard ripples. "Clap Clap" does just that, albeit digitally, as electro-jazz brims with pop gaiety. You know by now that Hekselman will not be tied to one style, much like the Brazilian singer-guitarist Milton Nascimento who is honoured on "Milton." Here we enter a beachball world of sunlit guitar glints, whilst bossa beats grow in fervour as if drummer Jonathan Pinson wants the party started now! Hekselman plays along leisurely, like he is still out the back fixing cocktails.

"It Will Get Better" was written out of concern for world affairs when the guitarist's wife was pregnant. Rick Rosato's bass is worked its full body length here over Hekselman's flashing scales. Finally we reach "Do Re Mi Fa Sol" and a dreamy country ballad, complete with subtle strings and a whistled chorus.

That final track, with its lyrical lilt, is described by the guitarist as "a love song to music." Creating ardour out of chaos, Hekselman finds freedom and beauty in our confused mass of being.

Track Listing: Prologuoooo1 101; VBlues; It Will Get Better; Tokyo Cookie; Stumble; Milton; Home To You; Little Song For You; Clap Clap; Do Re Mi Fa Sol.

Personnel: Gilad Hekselman: guitar, bass; Rick Rosato: bass; Jonathan Pinson: drums; Aaron Parks: synths, Rhodes, piano: Kush Abadey: drums, pads.

Title: Ask For Chaos | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Hexophonic Music/Motéma

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