Gene Ess: Modes of Limited Transcendence

Accomplished guitarist-composer Gene Ess unveils a batch of ambitious new tunes performed by a world-class crew of pianist Tigran Hamasyan, bassist Harvie S and drummer Tyshawn Sorey. Ess’ pungent, Sco-ish hollowbody guitar tones and cascading lines go down easy on exhilarating numbers like “Ryo’s First Flight,” the gentle waltz “Discovery in Three” and the 12-tone row piece “Trance Chant” (set in 7). His deep expression on the somber “Art of Nothingness” recalls Pat Martino in ballad mode while the bluesy “Messiaen Shuffle” is both metrically deceiving and grooving. And the spacious “Gagaku Dreams” is a tribute to Ess’ Japanese heritage.