Israeli jazz musicians—from Omer Avital and Anat Cohen to Gilad Hekselman and Anat Fort—have something special. Not all reference the folk music of their homeland, but when that “home is where the heart is” feeling is present, it’s undeniable. And it works at different levels with different musicians. Hekselman’s guitar playing is full of blinding light, darting rhythms, and magical melodies. Another Israeli guitarist, Yotam Silberstein, seems more inner-directed, his tone dark and lush, his music struck through with passion and intimacy but set at a certain distance. Silberstein’s soulfulness is tempered by a seriousness that gives his music tremendous weight, as his innate talent burns through every bar.
Featuring John Patitucci (bass), Glenn Zaleski (piano), Daniel Dor (drums), and Vitor Gonçalves (piano), Silberstein’s streamlined Future Memories catches you by the heart and never lets go. The leader seems to use more than one guitar, and that contrast broadens the mood—and his solos. “Night Walk” is just that, a balmy evening stroll built on light Afro-Cuban percussion and Patitucci’s buoyant fretwork. The spirit of Pat Metheny circa 1989’s Letter from Home informs “Capricho de Donga,” a serpentine melody translated by each instrument, played in unison over a bubbling rhythm. “A Picture of Yafo” also recalls Metheny (or is it Lyle Mays?), the song’s winding keyboard-oriented structure and yearning sensibility tugging the memory cells. A true polyglot with an adroit skill set, Silberstein is on a journey to watch.