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Guitarist Gilad Hekselman Asks For Chaos (But Finds Grace) at Yamaha Studio NYC

Gilad Hekselman has become one of the leading guitarists of his generation through a combination of factors, including his warm, lyrical sound and his willingness to push into the red. He features both sides of that aesthetic equation on his recent album Ask For Chaos, featuring a working trio as well as ZuperOctave, a more fusion-forward band.

At the WBGO Yamaha Salon, which customarily features pianists, Hekselman worked in standard trio format with two unsurpassable rhythm partners: bassist Joe Martin and drummer Kendrick Scott. Both have worked extensively with him, and they established a fond, flowing rapport within the first few measures of "It Will Get Better," the opening tune.

The performance, which went on to include a soulful take on Jerry Garcia's "Eyes of the World" and a glowing original called "Verona," plays out as a lesson in intuitive exchange. That's a Hekselman hallmark, and it certainly extends to the way that Martin and Scott carry themselves on any bandstand.

At the Salon, I also noted that they had new albums out in the spring: Étoilée, by Martin, and A Wall Becomes a Bridge, by Scott, are two of this season's notable releases. And Hekselman recently announced a new single — his cover of "Teen Town," by Jaco Pastorius — from an EP titled Further Chaos.

For more information about Gilad Hekselman, visit his website.


David Tallacksen, Audio Engineer; Aaron Ross, Videographer

A veteran jazz critic and award-winning author, Nate Chinen is editorial director at WBGO and a regular contributor to NPR Music.