Born in Israel in 1983, Hekselman first started out studying classical piano at age six, and then switched to guitar at age nine. A gifted performer, he gained early experience from age 12 to 14 as a member of the house band for a weekly children's television show. As a teenager, he further honed his skills attending the Thelma Yellin School of Arts, where he earned the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship for studies abroad. He then used the scholarship to attend college at New York's The New School, where he graduated with his B.F.A. in performing arts in 2008.
While still in school, he garnered attention after winning the 2005 Gibson Montreux International Guitar Competition. From there, he issued his debut album, 2006's Splitlife, with bassist Joe Martin and drummer Ari Hoenig. Words Unspoken followed two years later, and once again featured Martin as well as drummer Marcus Gilmore and tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm. Along with his own work, Hekselman has worked with a bevy of luminaries, including Anat Cohen, Esperanza Spalding, Chris Potter, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and others. Hekselman paired with saxophonist Mark Turner for several outings, including 2010's Hearts Wide Open and 2013's This Just In. Homes arrived in 2015 and featured the guitarist backed by his longtime trio of bassist Martin and drummer Gilmore, plus two cuts with drummer Jeff Ballard. Following his 2017 pick as a Rising Star in Down Beat magazine, he issued his sixth studio album, 2018's Ask for Chaos. The album showcased his two working ensembles, ZuperOctave with pianist Aaron Parks and drummer Kush Abadey and his gHex Trio with bassist Rick Rosato and drummer Jonathan Pinson. ~ Matt Collar, Rovi