Quietly, so quietly the jazz guitar torch is passed from the legends Jim Hall and Pat Martino to Kurt Rosenwinkel and Gilad Hekselman, whose release This Just In makes a conspicuously understated grab for said torch.
His fourth release as leader follows Hearts Wide Open (Le Chant Du Monde, 2011) and features the same stellar lineup of Joe Martin (bass), Marcus Gilmore (drums), and saxophonist Mark Turner on three tracks. Having a working group, and one as distinguished as this, boosts Hekselman's music from journeyman to headliner.
Of the nine tracks heard here, plus four shortish "Newsflash" interludes, all were composed by the guitarist except Don Grolnick's "Nothing Personal" and the Alan Parsons Project "Eye In The Sky." Hekselman, like his saxophonist, seemingly can never play an off note. The opener "Above," played in trio, soars with airy guitar notes and the swarming attack of Gilmore's drums, that is held together by Martin's bottom end. Similar to the work of Pat Metheny and Antonio Sanchez, Hekselman goes about his determined development of notes inside the fury. Add Turner on the title track, and the guitarist brings brazen bits of John Scofield-ish jazz-rock sound to the piece. Turner smooths each advance with his calming voice.
Hekselman applies both skill and grace to every track. His acoustic sound on "Dreamers," a folksy swing, registers a patient resolve and the "The Ghost Of The North" dices Frédéric François Chopin with the guitarist's jazz sensibilities. The highlight here is Grolnick's "Nothing Personal," a slippery sort of piece that allows the guitar and saxophone to circle each other, engage and float weightlessly around the themes.
Track Listing: Gilad Hekselman; guitar, synthesizers, glockenspiel; Joe Martin: bass; Marcus Gilmore: drums;
Mark Turner: tenor saxophone (3, 9, 13).
Personnel: Above; Newsflash #1; This Just In; Newsflash #2; The Ghost Of The North; Newsflash #3;
March Of The Sad Ones; Newsflash #4; Nothing Personal; Eye in The Sky; Newsflash #5;
Dreamers; This Just Out.
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