Gilad Hekselman has been developing a reputation as one of the most promising guitarists in New York since his arrival in 2004. In only a few years this native Israeli has shared the stage with some of the greatest artists in the New York jazz scene including Chris Potter, Mark Turner, John Scofield, Anat Cohen, Ari Hoenig, Esperanza Spalding, Sam Yahel, Jeff Ballard, Gretchen Parlato, Avishai Cohen, Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, Tigran Hamasyan, Aaron Parks and Greg Hutchinson.
He has played all the major jazz clubs in New York including the Blue Note, The Jazz Standard, Dizzy’s Club and Smalls. He is constantly touring world-wide and has played most major jazz festivals including Montreux, North Sea, Montreal and San Francisco.
Gilad is the winner of the 2005 Gibson Montreux International Guitar Competition. He opened for guitar legend Paco de Lucia at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2006, which led to a string of performances at the IAJE Conference and at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in New York.
That same year Gilad released his debut album SplitLife (Smalls Records) recorded with bassist Joe Martin and drummer Ari Hoenig. It received rave reviews from the press as did his second album, Words Unspoken (LateSet Records), recorded and released in 2008 with Joe Martin, drummer Marcus Gilmore and tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm.
In 2009, Gilad recorded three tracks for Walt Disney Records, one of which was included in the record Everybody Wants To Be a Cat (2011). The album features versions to Disney songs played by a top-shelf lineup of musicians including Dave Brubeck, Joshua Redman, Esperanza Spalding, Diane Reeves, Roy Hargrove, Kurt Rosenwinkel, The Bad Plus and many other jazz legends.
In the spring of 2010 Gilad recorded his third album, Hearts Wide Open, with Joe Martin on bass, Marcus Gilmore on drums and world-renowned saxophonist Mark Turner, a project that Gilad defined as his “best recorded work so far”. The record received rave reviews globally and was featured in many Best-of-2011 lists such as New York Times, Amazon and iTunes.
In April of 2013, Gilad will release his fourth album, This Just In, under the JazzVillage label of Harmonia Mundi. Recorded and engineered in New York by Michael Cisneros Perez, the new album with Gilad Hekselman, Joe Martin, and Marcus Gilmore also features Mark Turner on three titles.
Born in Israel in 1983, Gilad studied classical piano from age six and began studying guitar at the age of 9. From age 12 to 14 he performed regularly with the band of a weekly children’s television show. He attended the prestigious Thelma Yellin School of Arts, graduating with excellence from the jazz department at age 18. Gilad received the America – Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship for studies abroad to attend The New School in New York, where he completed a BFA degree in performing arts in 2008.
Gilad performs on handcrafted guitars made by Victor Baker.