145

Fred Hess Quartet: Crossed Paths

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Fred Hess Quartet: Crossed Paths Listening to "On Perry St.," the opening cut on Denver-based saxophonist Fred Hess' Crossed Paths —a song that thumps in on a rock-ish beat (by Matt Wilson) and a big loping bass line (by Ken Filiano), followed by some loose two horn harmony—I'm struck, on Hess's first solo of the disc, by what pretty noise the man makes with his horn. Combining perfect control with a sense of fun and wonder and a Lester Young-ish tone, telling us a facinating story with lots of little quirks and turns, he shines. And then trumpeter Ron Miles takes a turn (ditto on the pretty noise) that ushers in a gear shift for the rhythm guys, pulling back behind Miles' softer-edged sound that works as a perfect counterpoint to Hess's more urgent sax.

Crossed Paths is the second release by this particular group, and it moves the vision of last year's excellent The Long and Short of It (also on Tapestry) ahead a notch or two. Their sound—for an ear that listens to a great deal of free jazz—feels very approachable and melodic. The two horn (sax and trumpet) lineup without a chording instrument was pioneered by baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan and pushed to the outer limits by altoist Ornette Coleman and trumpeter Don Cherry; and now Fred Hess and company push things around a bit and give the sound their own distinct collective personality.

A constant in Hess' three Tapestry quartet discs—the first, Extended Family, with trumpeter Paul Smoker and drummer Damon Short, is also a first rate set—is bassist Ken Filiano, who grabs the ear with an assertive sound that bounces around the horn guys with a "you lookin' at me?" attitude.

And just listen to Hess's opening solo on "Funhouse": the sounds he makes—not always the case in the freer end of jazz—are gorgeous. We also revisit the Clef Family, whom we met on Extended Family and The Long and Short of It, with "The Clef's Visit Grandma." They prove themselves again a raucous clan—and having mentioned Hess's melodicism, this one edges closer to to the screeching and squabbling side of free jazz, with Hess and Miles blowing interludes that sound like two sea gulls fighting over a French fry.

"Mystery Woman" takes the set into a somber chamber jazz mood, a bit reminiscent of some of Trio X's work on the CIMP label; and the closer, "Untying the Knot," begins the same way, with Filiano bowing, leading the group in painting some darker colors before things shift into a more up-tempo and brighter mode, then back to the dark side again...

An outstanding set! In the quartet sans chording instrument, nobody does it better.

Visit Fred Hess on the web.


Track Listing: On Perry St., Zane, In the No, Knitwit for Tara, Funhouse, The Clef's Visit Grandma's, Crossed Paths, Mystery Woman, Untying the Knot

Personnel: Fred hess--tenor saxophone; Ron Miles--trumpet; Ken Filiano--bass; Matt Wilson--drums

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Tapestry | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
John Coltrane John Coltrane
saxophone
George Kahn George Kahn
piano
Sonny Rollins Sonny Rollins
saxophone
Lester Young Lester Young
saxophone
Eric Dolphy Eric Dolphy
reeds
Ornette Coleman Ornette Coleman
sax, alto
Michael Brecker Michael Brecker
sax, tenor
Chris Potter Chris Potter
reeds
Joe Lovano Joe Lovano
saxophone
Joe Henderson Joe Henderson
sax, tenor
Hal Galper Hal Galper
piano

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "No Favorites!" CD/LP/Track Review No Favorites!
by Troy Collins
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "Play All the Notes" CD/LP/Track Review Play All the Notes
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 8, 2016
Read "Eleven Promises" CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Promises
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 30, 2016
Read "Life Compass On!" CD/LP/Track Review Life Compass On!
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 5, 2017
Read "Beam Me Up" CD/LP/Track Review Beam Me Up
by Dave Wayne
Published: April 21, 2016
Read "Perch Hen Brock & Rain/Live @ The Jazz Happening Tampere" CD/LP/Track Review Perch Hen Brock & Rain/Live @ The Jazz Happening Tampere
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!