I'm about to do three or four things that I hate. They are all done in the name of love, though, so I assume that makes it okay. This place needed something to kick off the dust, so here goes.
This morning I listened to the first two tracks off of Gianni Gagliardi's debut album Nomadic Nature. I found this one browsing through emusic.com's recently added stuff, looking to burn through some built up credit, and pulled the trigger based on the sideman. Anything with Gilad Hekselman, Alexis Cuadrado and Mark Ferber on it deserves at least one good listen.
My first impression is how exciting Hekselman's playing on this is, as a sideman and a soloist. While playing the out head on the first tune Paris, where the guitar and sax are playing the melody as a closing statement to the tune, Hekselman starts filling in the empty spaces nicely, with some pretty interesting guitarish stuff. At one point, he reaches way up for an upper harmony to the melodic line and it becomes this super exciting moment to the music, and a pretty gutsy move.
On the second tune, L'Ironie d'une Jolie prise de Tête, Hekselman's solo is pretty fearless. After a few initial statements playing the harmony in a straightforward way, he takes a left turn and starts exploring. With no hesitation, he holds a nice long dissonance, making a firm statement that he knows exactly what he's doing on this one. Then to close out his solo, an extremely nice building phrase up to a flat 5. Hekselman's whole solo on the tune is one I know I'll be coming back to.
I'm definitely looking forward to checking out the rest of this album. Both for Hekselman's playing, and the rest of the band's. Gagliardi's writing is pretty impressive for his first time out, and he's definitely chosen a first rate band to record with. Give the track up top a listen, or the whole album if you get a chance!