A jazz trio’s canvas is the absence of sound in an empty space. The trio’s challenge is to become a "team of one" and use this space to foster an individual and collective playing style that produces a musical "ear painting" for the listener. One measure of success is how well the trio uses the canvas to create an intensely-focused adherence to loose conformity. The trio members must know where they are going while traveling with egoless confidence staying the course throughout the journey. In this setting, the trip matters much more than the destination. If the artists can create this musical setting for themselves while capturing and holding the audience, a remarkable experience emerges for all. Gilad Hekselman’s "Splitlife" delivers an explosively, invigorating musical adventure with great sights and sounds along the way. Jump on and enjoy.
Joining Mr. Hekselman is drummer, Ari Hoenig who is always where he should be, but never where you expect him. His listening gifts flow effortlessly through his instrument, resulting in a never ending compliment to his surroundings. He offers a platter of ideas for the soloist, and is a steady source of uplifting support.
Joe Martin’s bass playing contradicts the old saying that we all recall as children. Think back to family functions as a youngster. Do you remember the one adult saying: "children should be seen but not heard?"
The captivating bass playing on this recording is "heard but not seen", splendidly delivered, with clarity and grace. Mr. Martin is always present but never overly noticed. For a different experience, give this recording a special listen and pay attention exclusively to what is being played at the bottom end. Wonderful musicianship! Five standards and five originals compositions provide balance to the theme of "Splitlife". Each standard gets the respect deserved with the passionate attention mandated for any tune that has earned a place in the "standard" category.
Spend a little time with Ornette Coleman’s "When Will the Blues Leave", great interaction. Make sure you have "I Should Care" on your set list for a romantic dinner at home with someone special. This tune starts with an unassuming introduction of the melody and develops with slow intensity, each turn adding a bit more tension to the playing which releases about mid way and then brings us back to where it all started. It goes out with a little kick. I suggest candles and a glass of your favorite cabernet.
With the start of each original composition, the active listener will sense the bubbling of a developing itch that must be scratched. The original songs from Mr. Hekselman grant us insight into his compositional spirit. He writes nimbly for the trio setting and allows everyone room to stretch out. Quite nice indeed! If lucky, we have only heard the first of much more original material that will come. Rarely is more than one artist’s signature on a painting. Great trios use their individual talents and experiences to blend into one sound. This young trio definitely plays as one. "Splitlife" delivers spectacular trio artistry. Listen for yourself and experience the journey.