Six standards and two Wess originals fill out the recording taped in 2011. The performances are relaxed, reflecting a long life of music making. "It Could Happen to You" and "Embraceable You" are the apex of grace and swing. Wess goes solo on flute for "The Summer Knows," giving a master's class on space and time in performance. Wess waxes gut bucket on his "Blues for Ruby" a song complete with Russell Malone getting his Chuck Berry on and ends on the breezy foreshadowing of "If It's the Last Thing I Do." Magic 201 is effortless and excellent in every way.
Track Listing: It Could Happen to You; A Cottage for Sale; After Paris; The Summer
Knows; Embraceable You; Blues for Ruby; If You Can't Call, Don't Come;
If It's the Last Thing I Do.
Personnel: Frank Wess: tenor saxophone, flute; Kenny Barron: piano; Russell
Malone: guitar; Rufus Reid: bass; Winard Harper: drums.
I love jazz because it swings.
I was first exposed to jazz in Houston.
I met Joe LoCascio and Bob Henschen.
The best show I ever attended was Pat Martino.
The first jazz record I bought was Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
My advice to new listeners is to relax on 2 and 4 beats.