Now here's an exceedingly pleasant step back into the days when modern jazz and its fusions were getting their feet very very wet in the most pleasing of ways. Words Unspoken is nominally Gilad Hekselman's gig but, hey, there's a sax present on four cuts, and the saxophone always takes over. Well, that's not a bad thing with Joel Frahm's Dewey Redmanesque style, a distinct blowover from the sacred early Jarrett era. Then Hekselman steps into the light.
Think Pat Martino, John Scofield, Metheny in his trad-ier moments, toned down Coryell when he wasn't catching fire every three minutes, that sort of thing. Hekselman prefers the modulated tones adopted by John Abercrombie, and not a little of that gent's phrasing as well—never shouting, always intelligent and mood enhancing before waxing abstract. The guy hails from Israel and fell securely into the New York scene as soon as he stepped foot ashore. At the illustrious Montreux Jazz Fest, Hekselman even opened for Paco de Lucia. Most guitarists would have a heart attack when given that assignment, but this young guy just strode out and wowed the crowd.
Words Unspoken covers a number of standards, but pay careful attention to his own materials, especially the arrangements. Strains of the post-neoclassical enter at oddest of times, then strikingly freed-up passages intro a cut (esp. Ga'agua) before settling into familiar fields…but not for long. There's a good deal more exploration going on than first meets the ear. In slow phases, Gilad recalls Gabor Szabo and Charlie Byrd, but with an effervescence difficult to achieve in balladry.
This is the Japan-based LateSet label's debut in the U.S., and they deserve as much attention as can be given. Connoissieurs are ever athirst for quality of this magnitude, and far too little has been set before us in the last 10 years. With luck, this is just the start of an ocean of product from them. Someone needs to re-glorify the old CTI, Blue Note, ECM, etc. days. When you're done with Hekselman, check out Peter Mazza (here), Amanda Monaco (here), and Davy Moony (here)
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles