Gilad Hekselman Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Mon., May 20, 9 p.m. 2013

Guitarist Gilad Hekselman, making his Chicago debut as part of this week’s Israeli Jazz Festival, represents the leading edge of mainstream jazz, with dazzling chops, inexhaustible melodic imagination, total mastery of harmony, and deep knowledge of jazz history. Since moving to New York from Israel in 2004, he’s worked with the likes of Ari Hoenig and Anat Cohen, but it’s with his own group—bassist Joe Martin, drummer Marcus Gilmore, and often tenor saxophonist Mark Turner—that he shines brightest, extending a lineage established by Pat Metheny and Kurt Rosenwinkel. On the recent This Just In (Jazz Village) he interrupts his elegant original compositions (and a cover of the Alan Parsons Project’s “Eye in the Sky” that I could do without) with jagged little improvisations, each titled “Newsflash” in a somewhat flimsy analogy to breaking TV news, but he never loses the narrative flow of the album as a whole. His solos are consistently and gorgeously lyrical, and no matter how hard he digs into his harmonic explorations, they feel like feather strokes. Tonight’s performance is a trio set; John Davis will sub for Gilmore. —Peter Margasak

Price: $10

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