Gene Ess | A Thousand Summers (feat. Nicki Parrott)

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Jazz: Jazz Vocals Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz Moods: Type: Vocal
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A Thousand Summers (feat. Nicki Parrott)

by Gene Ess

Timeless jazz songs interpreted by award winning guitarist Gene Ess and by the renowned Nicki Parrott (Les Paul Trio). Joined by a stellar band of Gene Jackson, James Weidman, and Thomson Kneeland.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
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  Song Share Time Download
1. I Didn't Know What Time It Was
7:21 $0.99
2. One Day I'll Fly Away
6:18 $0.99
3. So in Love
8:21 $0.99
4. The Old Country
8:29 $0.99
5. Charade
7:58 $0.99
6. East of the Sun
7:30 $0.99
7. Looking Back (Reflections)
7:28 $0.99
8. All or Nothing at All
7:40 $0.99
9. Goodbye
7:01 $0.99
10. I Will Wait for You
2:58 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The album “A Thousand Summers” from guitarist Gene Ess is a collection of timeless beautiful songs from the jazz canon. Having concentrated on original compositions and instrumental music in his last 3 albums, this new album gives a peak into Gene’s roots of coming up with the jazz standards.

The music is arranged carefully in such a way as not to destroy the essence of the songs but still allow the musicianship of the ensemble to cut through. In another words, the musical integrity was not compromised in order to present popular jazz material. In order to accomplish this musical goal, bassist Thomson Kneeland was recruited to arrange half of the material to add another musical perspective to the presentation. If you listen carefully, it is uncanny how Gene and Thomson’s sense of music is very much on the same page and yet each brings a different shade of color to the music.

Much of the songs on this album are about love and the accompanying yearning, joy, and pain it can give to all of us. Music being a universal language is perfect to express the human feelings of love which is certainly understood by all humankind of every creed, race, and religion. Matter of fact, love transcends any artificial border that we may put amongst ourselves and is one of the true gifts of being human and makes life on earth perhaps even bearable. To love is to be human and the music on this album is full of musicians who truly love playing this music for the listening audience.

Nicki Parrott is the featured vocalist on this album. Nicki is a renowned vocalist and bassist and have worked in the late Les Paul’s trio here in NYC. The trio now continues as the “Tribute to Les Paul Trio” and plays ever Monday at the famed Iridium Jazz Club. Nicki brings her superior sense of melody and has a great ear for this music. Her singing is succinct, vulnerable, and understated yet undeniably beautiful and true. She’s the perfect messenger for the melody and lyrics for these arrangements of the songs and for Gene Ess.

The band led by Gene Ess includes Gene Jackson on drums, James Weidman on piano, and Thomson Kneeland on the bass. Gene Ess and Gene Jackson have worked together since 1995 and share a great camaraderie musically. Gene Jackson seems to know exactly where Gene Ess wants to go on the solos in an effortless manner. James Weidman contributes musical comping throughout and acts as the harmonic glue for the music. Thomson Kneeland keeps the music swinging throughout with his virtuosic bass playing and his solos are very deep. With a team of musicians of this high level and empathy, Gene Ess plays some of his most musical solos to date. All of his solos are very lyrical and adds positively to the music and gets into the organic aspect of the music.

Cindy McLeod of Jazz Review says "Gene Ess has firmly cemented his place as a major jazz artist of the new millennium. His post-bop work is delivered with adventurous spirit and intense ethos, offering a powerful, unique voice to the idiom. A guitarist of virtuosic proportions, Ess plays fluid chromatic lines that float and weave through the harmony. His performance is simply stated, yet reveals stunning technical fluency, the signature of all true greats. There's a delicious sense of tension/release with his performance riding over the rhythm section, Ess is a master of the art of creating dynamic interplay. Supple, sanguine, and superb are the three words that kept popping into my head as I listened, this recording knocked my socks off and will be in my CD player on a regular basis for many years to come."



to write a review

John Barron - The Jazz Word

Gene Ess – A Thousand Summers
New York guitarist Gene Ess enlists the singing talents of Nicki Parrott for his standards disc A Thousand Summers. The music swings hard with creative arrangements of timeless, musician-friendly tunes such as "I Didn't Know What Time it Was," "The Old Country" and "East of the Sun." With the aid of pianist James Weidman, bassist Thomson Kneeland and drummer Gene Jackson, Ess exhibits imaginative grace with soaring single-note lines. The guitarist, who has previously worked with the likes of Rashied Ali, Dave Liebman and Al Foster, manages a warm, thick tone and lyrical phrasing.

Parrott, perhaps best known as the bassist in the late Les Paul's trio at New York's Iridium Jazz Club, sings in convincingly understated fashion. Her ability to convey simplicity with a challenging melody like Monk's "Looking Back (Reflections)" is most impressive.

Rotcod Zzaj

Gene Ess - A Thousand Summers
Gene Ess & Nikki Parrott – A THOUSAND SUMMERS: The jazz I’ve reviewed by Gene previously was more in the “instrumental” category… with Nikki’s splendid vocal talent joining him, he’s opened up whole new vistas for the listener, especially on excellent pieces like “One Day I’ll Fly Away“… his guitar intro on this one is mighty mellow, & when Nikki’s vocal kicks in, it’s at just the right pace to prod your emotions with the “right stuff” – this one is a beaut! The 8:29 “The Old Country” is a sonic story you will carry ’round for months (maybe years) to come. The capstone performance, & my favorite track, though, is the down & bluesy “Charade”… truly one of the best renditions I’ve ever heard! I give Gene & Nikki my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.

Gene Ess A Thousand Summers Simp 2012
Technically proficient and artistically gifted, Gene Ess revisits jazz standards and the very ess-ence of swing that remains timeless for generations.

Ess has played with such luminaries Ravi Coltrane, Harvie S, Dave Liebman and Slide Hampton. While concentrating on his own original compositions in his last three releases, sometimes an artist just needs to go home for a bit. Vocalist Nicki Parrott's understated yet subtle sense of melody and swing are the perfect compliment to the lyrical magic of Ess and his infectious harmonic development within a tune.

A Thousand Summers is a release that focuses on love and the human condition. While a more wistful release, the six string pyrotechnics of Ess are artfully displayed while shifting dynamics and harmonic tension create an almost mysterious ambient feel to the release. "So In Love" develops a syncopated swing while maintaining an understated melodic melancholy only to be broken with the sonic exploratory of James Weidman on piano. "East Of The Sun" continues an understated elegance that seems to permeate this recording with an intoxicating swing that seems as methodical yet as well defined as the flow of an Ess solo. "All Or Nothing At All" is arranged to showcase he finesse of drummer Gene Jackson who anchors an impeccable rhythm section with bassist Thomon Kneeland and pianist Weidman. Ess could have held auditions for six months and may not have found a vocalist more suited for this release than Nicki Parrott. A innate gift of melodic interpretation, swing and understated cool, Nicki Parrott is the musical hot fudge to the modern jazz ice cream that is Gene Ess. Simply put...she makes a good thing even better.

With a musical relationship going back well over a decade with drummer Gene Jackson, chemistry is a given. A Thousand Summers is a deceptively complex release that is incredibly accessible. Each subsequent spin of this disc reveals yet another subtle nuance perhaps previously missed. Gene Ess may well be one of the better guitarists to have flown under the radar for far too long. Musical frames of reference to his playing would be inherently unfair. Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Pat Martino...My recommendation is to get to know Gene Ess.

Warm, organic and deceptively understated, A Thousand Summers shines a direct spotlight on the future of modern jazz guitar.

Tracks: Didn't Know What Time It Was; One Day I'll Fly Away; So In Love; The Old Country; Charade; East Of The Sun; Looking Back; All Or Nothing At All; Goodbye; I Will Wait For You.

Personnel: Gene Ess: guitar, arrangements; James Weidman: piano; Thomson Kneeland: bass, arrangements; Gene Jackson: drums; Nicki Parrott: vocals.

Bill Milkowski

Gene Ess - A Thousand Summers
In a decided departure from
his last outing) 2008’s Modes
of Limited Transcendence,
which exclusively featured his
original postbop/fusion
compositions, guitarist Gene Ess presents a
fresh spin on the Great American Songboolc
The star of this show is singer Nicki Parrott,
also known as the longstanding bassist in
the Les Paul Trio. She brings clear articula
tion, beautiful tone, a sense of rhythmic
assuredness and a touch of allure to
inventive arrangements of Rodgers and
Hart’s CCJ Didn’t Know What Time It Was,”
Cole Porter’s “So in Love” and Michel
Legrand’s haunting “I Will Wait for You’
There’s also a delicious version of Thelonious
Monk’s “Reflections,” with Jon Hendricks’
lyrics, and a wonderful version of Gordon
Jenkins’ “Goodbye” done as a sprightly bossa
nova. Backed by fine players including pianist
James Weidman, Ess gets plenty of room to
solo within each of these classic tunes, but it’s
the charming Parrott who sells them.
Bill Milkowski - JAZZTIMES