The Israeli-born jazz guitarist revels in spontaneity on his new release, ‘This Just In.’
Special To The Jewish Week
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When he was a little boy growing up in Kfar Saba, Gilad Hekselman became fascinated by Michael Jackson.
“When I was 7, I was a big Michael Jackson fan and wanted to be a singer,” Hekselman, now 30, admitted in a telephone interview this week. “But I tried to play the drums and the guitar and I gave up singing.”
Israel may have lost a potential “Melekh shel Pop,” but the jazz world gained a terrific guitarist and composer, whose fourth CD, “This Just In,” is being celebrated with a gig June 11 and 12.
“I come from a music-appreciating family, but no one is a musician,” said Hekselman, who moved to New York about 10 years ago as part of a wave of Israeli jazz musicians who have made a significant mark on the city’s jazz scene.
This year’s MFA exhibition at The New York Studio School, which opened on Wednesday night, includes two Israeli painters working with specifically Jewish or Israeli themes. Leah Raab paints large-scale images of Jerusalem that are tender and intimate, but sometimes communicate a sense of foreboding. Shany Saar paints narrative works, often of biblical themes. Both create strong images through an inventive sense of form and color, vigorous brushwork and an achieved sense of pictorial space.
Israeli artists and academics have called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to prevent the deportation of refugees who came from South Sudan.
The 400 writers, authors and musicians sent a petition to the prime minister Tuesday asking him to stop the deportation, saying it would expose the refugees, many of them children, “to a raging war, hunger and disease.”
It can be tricky to bring together a group of artists and find a theme or an element among their works. It’s an even trickier proposition when it comes to Israeli artists, since too often the conceit involves the thorny subjects of politics or religion.
In a new group show at the Mina Gallery in Cooper Square (www.minanyc.org), on view through Dec. 6, it is something that doesn’t quite exist that is meant to be the connection.