What underscores popularity? And what does it take to break through the consumer cognizance? Those are questions I couldn’t help asking myself when musician Brandon Ross came to dinner on the weekend.

They call him the master guitarist for good reason. He has collaborated with modern jazz masters the likes of Henry Threadgill, Leroy Jenkins, Oliver Lake and Butch Morris. He is credited as “the architect of the breakthrough sound and success of Cassandra Wilson’s “Blue Light ‘Til Dawn.” And not only can the man play, he can sing. And the result is… sublime.

Which brings me back to the question of why such a seemingly modest slice of music lovers are buying his debut solo album, “Costume.” Amazon reviewer, J. Dennis, poses the same question. “Brandon Ross–why does the name resonate just behind consciousness?”

It shouldn’t. It’s absurd.

“Costume,” a mostly acoustic collection, amazes in its range of sounds and references. Its cultural amplitude covers continents and listening to it transported me from misty bamboo forests to places of worship to high-end, stylin’ jazz lounges.

But don’t take it from me alone. Listen to the WNYC “New Sounds” radio show that praises Ross’ versatility and read the Jazz Times review. And then, do your collection a favour and buy the album.

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