The debut recording by guitarist Gilad Hekselman has the youth displaying a mature sound, the ability to think fast, and an inventive use of space. While he names his main influences as pianists Bill Evans and Ahmad Jamal, one thinks of Jim Hall when hearing Hekselman solo in the sparse guitar-bass-drums setting. He performs four standards on Splitlife, including Ornette Coleman's "When Will the Blues Leave," plus six often-lyrical originals of his own. While Hekselman sees this group (which features bassist Joe Martin and drummer Ari Hoenig) as a co-op, he is the first among equals and shows that he clearly has a potentially significant future. Recommended.
by Scott Yanow