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Gene Ess, A Thousand Summers
SIMP Records, Feb. 14

05/31/12
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



Wes Montgomery-sounding jazz guitarist Ess is renowned as a prodigy within and outside of his circle of New York wonks, which, along with his understated, gentle soloing, has led to major world tours with (place name of neo-jazz hero here) and (ditto). But decent wheat bread and fresh-ground Starbucks cost money, as you may know, and thus fulltime jazz artists are always keen on ideas that’ll help pay the bills. That said, I can’t say for certain necessity didn’t dictate this set of standards marking Ess’s first time with a vocalist, but it would seem more a labor of love-or-something-like-it, reason being that the singer in question is Les Paul tribute component Nicki Parrott, whose mousy, tentative Billie Holliday impression is OK enough, but I get the impression that Ess has projected goddesslike qualities onto her owing to her resumé. She’s no goddess, see, merely one more medium tapping into the 1930s, but whatever, at least opener “I Didn’t Know what Time It Was,” from Rodgers and Hart’s Too Many Girls, hasn’t been covered nine billion times this month. B — Eric W. Saeger





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