Award winning guitarist, Gene Ess, draws upon a diverse background to form his unique style. Studying classical piano, Gene's early years were filled with sounds of Beethoven and Chopin. Originally from Tokyo, Japan and growing up on a U.S. Air Force Base on Okinawa, Gene 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 performed in clubs and festivals all around Okinawa at the early age of 14. After graduating high school Gene left for George Mason University. There, he pursued classical music studies with Larry Snitzler, a prominent concert guitarist who was Andrés Segovia's disciple and orchestral composition under Dr. Glenn Smith.
Downbeat magazine presented Gene's performance of Lennox Berkeley's 'Theme and Variations' with the 'Outstanding Performance Award' in 1983. Consequently, Gene 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, Gene graduated from Berklee with honors in 1990 and moved to New York in 1991.
During the 90's 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, Matt Garrison, Lonnie Plaxico, Archie Shepp, and Reggie Workman among many others.