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I met Gilad shortly after I moved to NYC - I can’t recall when or where but I’m sure it was under musical circumstances. One thing that immediately caught my attention was how free yet grounded his playing sounded. When Gilad played, he was very relaxed – never stomping out the pulse – he seemed to float in a very easy way while simultaneously playing impeccable time and interlocking with the rhythm section. As we became friends, I eventually learned he was a steady practitioner of meditation and yoga – somehow this seemed to speak in his playing. I also noticed that Gilad played more like a piano player than a guitarist – he was able to “comp” behind himself while soloing, no doubt requiring a complex approach on the guitar. I later found out that some of his favorite musicians were piano players, specifically, he mentioned Ahmad Jamal.  

When I wrote this piece, I was thinking about Gilad’s compositional approach. To me, it often reveals a blend of beautiful, simple melodies with hidden complex rhythmic structures. I was also thinking about his ability to play multiple musical “roles” at once and so I wrote something that involved a melody, bassline and chords all occurring at the same time. In addition, we took advantage of his effects pedals and created a series of loops in real time throughout the piece. This was especially fun and challenging, as each loop was not done to a click track or computer and had an imperfect but colorful human feel. I think Gilad’s solo on the duet really sums up his style in so many ways – perfectly blending that free, floating quality, beautiful harmonies and complex rhythmic ideas in a seamless way.

Originally, we were going to record the video in an architect’s studio across the street from where I lived in Greenpoint. At the last moment, it became unavailable and my friend offered her beautiful place in Long Island City. I’ve particularly enjoyed the few pieces that have been recorded in people’s homes – it somehow creates a special space and atmosphere for the performance and I believe makes one play differently, though I’m not sure quite how. As always, I want to extend a huge thanks to Gilad Hekselman for contributing his immense artistry and to Alex Chaloff and Steve Brickman for their beautiful video work.

For more about Gilad: