is one of the leading voices in jazz guitar. Only a few years after his arrival to NY in 2004, this native Israeli was already sharing stages with some of the greatest artists in the New York City jazz scene including Chris Potter, Eric Harland, Mark Turner, Anat Cohen, Ari Hoenig, Esperanza Spalding, Jeff Ballard, Ben Wendel, Gretchen Parlato, Ben Williams, Avishai Cohen, Tigran Hamasyan, Aaron Parks and Becca Stevens among many others.
In May 2019, Hekselman featured his quartet at the legendary NYC venue The Village Vanguard. He has also been playing all other major jazz clubs in New York City, including the Blue Note, The Jazz Standard, Dizzy's Club and Smalls. He is constantly touring world-wide and has played most noteworthy jazz festivals and venues including Montreux, North Sea, Montreal & SFJazz to name a few.
Hekselman has released 9 critically-acclaimed records as a band-leader, many of which have made it into 'best of the year' lists on NY Times, Downbeat Magazine, Amazon, All About Jazz and many other publications. His 10th upcoming record, Far Star, will be released on Edition Records in May 2022. It's an all-original album in which Hekselman plays many instruments, and it features special guests such as Eric Harland, Shai Maestro, Ziv Ravitz and more. The record release will be celebrated with a week-long engagement at the Village Vanguard in NYC at the end of March 2022.
Gilad is the recipient of several prestigious awards and recognitions. In 2017, Gilad placed first in the Rising Star category of Downbeat Magazine. That same year, he won the 7 Virtual Jazz Club international competition 2017. In 2018 Gilad was asked by guitar legend Pat Metheny to perform as part of his NEA Award ceremony at The Kennedy Center, alongside some of Metheny's other favorite young guitar players. Gilad is also the winner of the 2005 Gibson Montreux International Guitar Competition, which led to a string of performances including opening for guitar legend Paco de Lucia with his trio at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2006.
Gilad began his prolific recording career in 2006 with the release of his debut album, SplitLife (Smalls Records), recorded with bassist Joe Martin and drummer Ari Hoenig. It received rave reviews from the press as did his second album, Words Unspoken (LateSet Records), recorded and released in 2008 with Joe Martin, drummer Marcus Gilmore and tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm.
In 2009, Gilad recorded three tracks for Walt Disney Records, one of which was included in the record Everybody Wants To Be a Cat (2011). The album features versions of Disney songs played by a top-shelf lineup of musicians including Dave Brubeck, Joshua Redman, Esperanza Spalding, Diane Reeves, Roy Hargrove, Kurt Rosenwinkel, The Bad Plus and many other jazz legends.
Born in Israel in 1983, Gilad studied classical piano from age 6 and began studying guitar at the age of 9. From age 12 to 14 he performed regularly with the band of a weekly children's television show. He attended the prestigious Thelma Yellin School of Arts, graduating with excellence from the jazz department at age 18. Gilad received the America - Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship for studies abroad to attend The New School in New York, where he completed his BFA in performing arts in 2008.