|Gene Ess Trio with Niki King
Award winning guitarist, Gene Ess, draws upon a diverse background to form his unique style. Studying classical piano, Ess’s early years were filled with sounds of Beethoven and Chopin. Growing up on a US Air Force Base, Ess was simultaneously receiving a mix of influences: he was exposed to the indigenous music of Okinawa and - to the pop and jazz music coming out of the clubs for the American soldiers. All this amounted for an early obsession with music.
Gene Ess, guitar
Thomson Kneeland, bass
Bruce Cox, drums
Niki King, vocals
Considered a child prodigy by fellow musicians and instructors, Ess performed in clubs and festivals all around Okinawa at the early age of 14. After graduating high school, not satisfied, Ess left for George Mason University. There, Ess pursued classical music studies with Larry Snitzler, a prominent concert guitarist who was once Andres Segovia's disciple and orchestral composition under Dr. Glenn Smith.
Downbeat magazine presented Ess’s performance of Lennox Berkeley's 'Theme and Variations' with the 'Outstanding Performance Award' in 1983. Consequently, Ess received a scholarship to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. There he continued his musical quest and was heavily influenced by the music of John Coltrane. After studies with Jerry Bergonzi and Charlie Banacos, Ess graduated from Berklee with honors in 1990 and moved to New York in 1991. During the 90s he worked with the great drummer Rashied Ali, touring globally and recording a well received album “No One in Particular”. Through this group, Gene met and played with Carlos Santana, Ravi Coltrane, Archie Shepp, and Reggie Workman among many others.
Gene's current album, "Modes of Limited Transcendence," has received great reviews globally. This album received the prestigious 2010 SESAC Outstanding Jazz Performance Award.
Over his career, Gene has performed and recorded with many wonderful musicians. Some are Dave Liebman, Al Foster, Rashied Ali, Harvie S, Slide Hampton, Carlos Santana, Archie Shepp, Reggie Workman, Lonnie Plaxico, Eddie Henderson, Donny McCaslin, and Ravi Coltrane.
Niki King was catapulted into the international spotlight in 2001, when she won the prestigious Perrier Jazz Vocalist of the Year award at the Café De Paris in London in 2001. Since then she has released four critically acclaimed albums, as well as toured throughout Britain, Asia and Europe and headlined at the Blue Note in Tokyo and London’s Ronnie Scott’s. King’s prodigious talent meant she has been asked to open for Al Green and The Average White Band, as well as to collaborate with other great musicians, including revered writer/producer Bluey Maunick of Incognito. She released her first album, New Day in 2002, on Maunick’s Rice Records label and later featured as co-writer and performer on his album, Paradiso. Soon after this King’s second album, Azure, was hailed by reviewers for her beautiful reworking of jazz classics.
Returning to her songwriting roots in 2004, King released her self-penned EP, Letting Go, which was immediately snapped up for an exclusive feature on Radio 2’s Soul Solutions, as well as garnering five-star reviews in the press. In 2006, King was voted Most Stylish Female at the Scottish Style Awards – the same year her album, Twelve O’Clock Tales was released. In 2009/10, King toured the highly successful Billie Holiday Songbook show, which she created to honour the jazz legend’s work on the 50th anniversary of her untimely death. The show – which was specially recorded by BBC Radio - received five star reviews in the press and had a run of sold out shows. King is now presently recording her fifth studio album in New York, with an incredible new ten-piece band and a much anticipated summer 2011 release. Reviews: "talented, stunning chanteuse..." 5/5 Three Weeks "a voice that makes grown men and poets reach for their pens..." 5 stars Edfestmag "megastardom is just around the corner..." 5 stars The Scotsman "this jazz/soul chanteuse has the word 'star' stamped all over her..." 4 stars Evening News For more music, reviews, photographs and videos please visit www.nikiking.com