As a guitar player, I admit that I listen closely to records fronted by guitar players. It's simply habit, and not as much to analyze and assess the technical arsenal of the guitarist in question, but really to see how the leader incorporates the guitar into the big picture. Derek Bronston, guitarist, leader and composer of the 9 cuts on "Ebb", has done a solid job of culminating the talents of 3 other respected and active NYC musicians (Gary Wang, Lisa Parrott, Gerald Cleaver), using his compositions as the brick and mortar. Rather than using his group as a backdrop for a blowing session, he tightly integrates melody lines, harmonic concepts and a somewhat edgy approach, and does something that a lot of guitar-based leaders don't : Take a break.
Actually, my only complaint was that I would've liked to hear more of Bronston, but he chooses a more subtle, laid back lyrical approach on his lead sections, a compliment to his exceptionally textural chord work, which I found to be his strongest asset second to his compositional offerings. While it's not unusual for a leader to take backseat to his group, it can leave you a bit dry at times, but in this case the overall sound of the CD is very powerful and subtle, all in one.
Contemporary jazz fans (not to be mistaken with 'Smooth' jazz) will definitely appreciate this CD for it's emotionally charged compositions, lush production and first rate contributions by all of its players.