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Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

ALBUM REVIEW

Gene Ess: Apotheosis

Read "Apotheosis" reviewed by Chris Mosey

The inspiration for Apotheosis, Japanese-American guitarist Gene Ess's fourth album, is taken from mythologist James Campbell's book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces," first published in 1949. In this Campbell describes apotheosis as “the expansion of consciousness a hero experiences when defeating his foe." His theories concerning fictional heroes have been used as a template by many modern writers and artists, including George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars films. Now Ess is applying them to jazz. ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Gene Ess: Absurdist Theater

Read "Absurdist Theater" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

On this CD guitarist Gene Ess and his group Fractal Attraction have put together an intelligent fusion of jazz, folk and rock concepts led by the glassy clarity of Ess' guitar and the calm beauty of Thana Alexa's voice. Alexa's rising and falling wordless tones are the first thing heard on the disc and they lead into a pretty, slow theme built on a methodical blend of voice, guitar and Manuel Valera's piano. The quiet mood continues on “Circe's Compassion" ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Gene Ess: Eternal Monomyth

Read "Eternal Monomyth" reviewed by Geannine Reid

Award winning guitarist, Gene Ess, draws upon a diverse background to form his unique style of playing and writing. Eternal Monomyth is a companion piece to Ess' last album, Fractal Attraction. Ess explains, “the music should be heard in that regard. In a transparent sense, it is a continuation of my exploration with the combined timbre of the female voice and the electric guitar wrapped up in original compositions and supported by a piano trio. But acutely, it is about ...

CATCHING UP WITH

Gene Ess: Blending Passionate and Pensive

Read "Gene Ess: Blending Passionate and Pensive" reviewed by Jud Branam

Fresh off the release of Fractal Attraction (Simp, 2013), which blends traditional combo jazz lineups and approaches with a unique take on vocal jazz, Gene Ess is a man with a lot on his mind as it pertains to career, place--and music in general. Ess is enthusiastic about his love of jazz, classical and rock music, but is also pensive about the tough state of the music economy and the prospects for working jazz. He's also excited about ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Gene Ess: Fractal Attraction

Read "Fractal Attraction" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Using the voice as a melodic and harmonic instrument above and beyond scat singing or vocalese is increasing in popularity, as evidenced in recordings like Beata Pater's Red (B&B Records, 2013) and Lola Danza's The Island (Evolver, 2012). Vocalist Thana Alexa joins guitarist Gene Ess for an expansion of Ess' genre-breaking jazz philosophy, using the human voice as instrument, thus broadening its palette of applications in jazz. On the whole, Ess' compositions are angular, with sharp corners ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Gene Ess: A Thousand Summers

Read "A Thousand Summers" reviewed by Edward Blanco

In a rare departure for Gene Ess, who has always favored original music and instrumentals, the veteran jazz guitarist has partnered with acclaimed vocalist and bassist Nicki Parrott for A Thousand Summers, a refined album of familiar jazz standards and love songs. When Ess began developing the project, he naturally focused on new material. One day he performed with a singer at New York's renowned Blue Note jazz club. As he so aptly puts it, the experience “seemed to have ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Gene Ess: Modes of Limited Transcendence

Read "Modes of Limited Transcendence" reviewed by Edward Blanco

An award-winning guitarist and vital part of the music scene in New York city since moving there in 1991, Gene Ess continues his exploration of music with another dose of tasteful modern jazz featuring sophisticated and engaging compositions on Modes of Limited Transcendence. A classically-trained pianist, Ess also plays the electric guitar and is often compared to John Scofield and John Abercrombie in style. Once considered a child prodigy, Ess draws on pop, jazz, and classical influences when composing his ...


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