Gene Ess “Apotheosis” Out on November 6

Gene Ess' "Apotheosis" Out on November 6

Japanese-American jazz guitarist, composer and producer Gene Ess will release his new album, Apotheosis, on November 6. This is his fourth album from his quintet Fractal Attraction, featuring vocalist Thana Alexa, pianist Sebastien Ammann, bassist Yasushi Nakamura and drummer Clarence Penn.

Throughout his career, Ess has recorded and performed with the likes of Rashied Ali, Carlos Santana, Clark Terri and Donny McCaslin, among many others. His group, Fractal Attraction, is regarded as one of the most unique and fresh ensembles on the jazz scene today, presenting the timbral and textural exploration of the guitar and female voice that Ess has so carefully envisioned, his arrangements blending perfectly with detailed compositional structures that contain plenty of room for improvisation.

Apotheosis follows three previous full-length albums by Fractal Attraction: the self-titled album from 2013, Eternal Monomyth in 2015 and Absurdist Theater in 2016. Apotheosis finds the quintet bringing to life the leader’s vision on each track, from the depiction of a vibrant night scene that one could find moving through Shinjuku or Shibuya on “Tokyo Red,” to “Fireflies of Hiroshima,” inspired by the horrendous atomic bomb dropped during World War II.

This album draws inspiration from American philosopher, writer and lecturer Joseph Campbell’s definition for apotheosis from his seminal 1949 work, The Hero With a Thousand Faces. In it, he defines it as “the expansion of consciousness a hero experiences when defeating his foe.” In fact, as a press release explains, while Fractal Attraction’s previous album, Absurdist Theater, imagines the hero grappling with internal roadblocks and emotions at the absolute horrors of the world, the music of Apotheosis represents the hero breaking through those obstacles and permeates a feeling of joy.

For example, the album closes with “Two Worlds,” a song that features a galvanizing melody described as if it were saying “this is the time,” and making clear that the hero’s consciousness has changed, has found triumph and a spot of joy in the world.

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