Written by Patrick Jarenwattananon from WBGO-FM
The next installment of The Checkout: Live From 92Y Tribeca arrives with hearts and ears wide open.
Hearts Wide Open is the name of guitarist Gilad Hekselman’s latest album, released last fall. The title is about emotional connections to music, for both performers and audiences. Modern jazz tends to get a bum rap in this department, but Hearts is filled with engaging original tunes over wide open beats. It’s the third record from Hekselman, who emigrated from Israel to New York in 2004 and quickly found his way into bands led by drummer Ari Hoenig and clarinetist Anat Cohen. Here, he leads a quartet of top New York players, much like the one on Hearts, including saxophonist Mark Turner.
The Puerto Rican drummer Henry Cole is probably best known in the U.S. as a stellar jazz accompanist, with bands led by compatriots and saxophonists David Sánchez and Miguel Zenón. Back in San Juan, Cole also works with poets and rappers, bomba musicians and pleneros, rockers and salsa ringleaders. He found they all could all get down to Fela Kuti-style Afrobeat; many jam sessions later, he found a way to record that sound for the 2012 album Roots Before Branches, with top New York jazz soloists coursing through it. Henry Cole and the Afrobeat Collective, chock full of hand drums and horns and hollers, convenes for this live date.
Both bands play a double bill in downtown New York, presented by The Checkout: Live concert series and broadcast by WBGO and in an online video webcast at this NPR Music page Wednesday, May 30 at 8 p.m. ET. For more information about this series and the full concert archive, visit npr.org/checkoutlive.
Gilad Hekselman Quartet
Henry Cole And The Afrobeat Collective