Jack Gates is a guitarist who has studied styles from around the world, from India to the Caribbean, from South America to Africa, and he shows his fluent knowledge on his new album, BRING THE FLAVORS, by mixing in a little samba here, some India drone there, some Latin flamenco-esque elsewhere.

On about half the album his acoustic and electric guitars (sometimes one or the other and sometimes both on a track) are backed by a bass player and drummer (or percussionist). But on two tunes gates brings in a harmonica player and on one tune turns the lead over to a cellist. This helps keep the sound interesting.

Some tunes are stripped down -- “Enigmatic Land” is just acoustic and electric guitar interplay; “The Magician” is a solo acoustic; “Dawn Walker” is a chorded acoustic with harmonica over it; “Choco Latte” is two acoustics (one rhythm and one lead) plus drums; “Cloud Forest” is two acoustics and some percussion; and “Liquid Entropy” has two electrics (one droning and one soloing).

This much variation works well because you have no idea what to expect from piece to piece. It could be a Robbie Basho type of improvisation or a tight jazzy combo sound. All of it works well and shows that Gates has a flair for arranging his original instrumental material with just the right strokes and colors and flavors, a little world spice here or some hot soloing there. This one is definitely worth checking out.