Nov 12 2015
Comparing each individual album track on Homes, the newest from guitarist Gilad Hekselman, you wouldn’t think these tunes would have any reason to hang out together in the same room. The electric fusion sheen of “Cosmic Patience” is unlikely to find a common topic of interest with the acoustic guitar folk-jazz of “Home E-Minor.” A wind sprint rendition of Bud Powell’s “Parisian Thoroughfare” would nervously tap its foot in silence while struggling to find a conversation starter to get things going with “Eyes to See,” with its inner-rock-anthem just waiting to come bursting out and drown out everything in the room.
A cheerful rendition of Pat Metheny’s “Last Train Home,” with its melody wrapped in a bluesy groove could probably swap stories with the gorgeous melody of the Hekselman original “Verona,” but, together, would stand silently as they watch the chipper “KeeDee” bop excitedly around the room, paying no mind to anyone in its path. And then there’s the handful of brief pieces and interludes that behave as if they mistakenly received an invitation at the last minute and decided to show up anyway.
But Hekselman overcomes any problems this variation in sound and expression might present by crafting statuesque melodies, reflecting a thoughtfulness in planning and a meticulous construction, allowing them to stand out with sharp clarity. And that he couches this characteristic by wrapping those melodies up with ethereal harmonies and rhythmic imagery akin to a map of stars, it’s why the songs, individually, can enter the room from any number of different doors yet come together like one big happy family.
There’s a pleasantly unassuming disposition to this album. No one track gets right up in your face, keeping more to a rainy day ambiance that lets the music drift on in and settle in slowly. This passivity, though, shouldn’t be mistaken for insubstantiality, because though the music’s strength is subtly exercised, it carries far and wide, and it doesn’t erode with the time of repeat listenings. Homes will make a nice addition to your library, and pretty much is a must-buy for you jazz guitar fans.
Your album personnel: Gilad Hekselman (guitars), Joe Martin (bass), Marcus Gilmore (drums) and guest: Jeff Ballard (drums).
Released on Jazz Village.
Jazz from the Brooklyn scene.