Gilad Hekselman: SplitLife


Sign in to view read count
Not that long out of school, guitarist Gilad Hekselman has already begun to create a body of work possessing a distinctive lyricism and easily embraceable artfulness that seems to reach beyond his years. Born in 1983 and transplanted to the US from Israel, Hekselman's highly effective debut album—aptly named Splitlife—strides dual worlds, Middle East and West, old world and new, but it's his own personality as both assured player and composer that gives this recording its very personable voice.

He is also worldly-wise in teaming with bassist Joe Martin and drummer Ari Hoenig, other New York-based players who have well-stocked warehouses of spirit and technique for this elegant CD, recorded live at New York's Fat Cat.

.Hekselman has a pristine, crystalline sound and a bright playing style that seems as natural and sustaining as air and water. For a quick sampling of how everything goes right on these ten tracks, jump smack into the middle of things to "Suite for Sweets, one of the guitarist's originals. Its sound is "sweet indeed. But the overall effect created by all parties is transfixing, impressionistic and immediate. Fluid and multi-textured, the piece provides an aural snapshot of a fully realized moment in time but is never stagnant. Imagine a brightly lit day, sunlight on water—you are there. If Monet's water lily studies were music this could be it.

Hoenig's cymbals shimmer, his brushes rustle like air through leaves, the pulse of his drums as natural as breathing, with sticks providing extra kick. A bassist of choice for accomplished guitarists Kurt Rosenwinkel and Ben Monder and many other fine players, Martin is entirely present, lending a depth charge of warm humanity and sure-fire musicality to this and any circumstance. Hekselman performs with a quiet assertiveness and expertise that is winning throughout.

While other originals like "The Summer of Laughs and Tears and "Breathless glow with steady incandescence, Hekselman has not neglected the Great American Songbook—"I Fall in Love Too Easily, "I Should Care and "My Ideal receive clever interpretations. "When Will the Blues Leave pays apt tribute to Ornette Coleman.

Track Listing: Purim; Hello Who Is It?; My Ideal; I Fall in Love Too Easily; Suite for Sweets; When Will the Blues Leave; The Summer of Laughs and Tears; Breathless; I Should Care; My Second Childhood.

Personnel: Gilad Hekselman: guitar; Joe Martin: bass; Ari Hoenig: drums.

Title: SplitLife | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Smalls Records


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Bright Yellow with Bass CD/LP/Track Review Bright Yellow with Bass
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "Pelagos" CD/LP/Track Review Pelagos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 3, 2017
Read "Manhattan EP" CD/LP/Track Review Manhattan EP
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 2, 2017
Read "Tipico" CD/LP/Track Review Tipico
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 7, 2017
Read "Das Wohltemperierte Akkordeon" CD/LP/Track Review Das Wohltemperierte Akkordeon
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "Dawg Yawp" CD/LP/Track Review Dawg Yawp
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "The Big Shake-Up" CD/LP/Track Review The Big Shake-Up
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 21, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.