3

Frank Wess: Magic 201

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Frank Wess: Magic 201 Saxophonist Frank Wess was born in 1922. He played in Billy Ecstine's orchestra, after World War II interrupted his burgeoning career, and he played in Count Basie's band from 1953 to 1964. With those early experiences on his resume, the fact that he was a traditionalist in the mode of saxophonists Ben Webster, of Duke Ellington Orchestra fame, and Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young should come as no surprise.

Following up his Magic 101 (IPO Recording, 2013), Wess, who passed away in October 2013, at age 91, offers, perhaps, his last recording, a posthumous upper class course in taste and refinement, and yes, magic, with Magic 201. From the same session that produced the first Magic recording, Wess adds guitarist Russell Malone to his quartet to explore of the standards, a couple of originals, one a down and dirty blues that says he wasn't all sharp-looking suit and tie, champagne and caviar.

These guys make it sound so effortless. But it's a sextet of seasoned pros, so that's how it should be. Kenny Barron, who in addition to his prodigious sideman work has enjoyed an enormous career as a leader, keeps things graceful from the piano chair, without stealing any thunder from the leader, but embellishing and accenting, and creating moments of sublime beauty inside the ensemble interplay. Guitarist Russell Malone is, as always impeccable in his contributions; and on the Frank Wess-penned "Blues for Ruby" he sounds like a guy who could have gone into the studio with Muddy Waters and laid down a deep delta blues.

This is classic jazz, offered up by a master of the genre joined by the perfect sidemen for the gig. Five of the tunes are ballads of understated yet exquisite beauty. All of them polished pieces of perfection from Frank Wess and his crew.

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.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: IPO Recordings | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Soul Garden CD/LP/Track Review Soul Garden
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Authorized Bang Collection CD/LP/Track Review The Authorized Bang Collection
by Doug Collette
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "Taylor Street" CD/LP/Track Review Taylor Street
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 3, 2016
Read "Central Line" CD/LP/Track Review Central Line
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 2, 2017
Read "Wisdom Of Elders" CD/LP/Track Review Wisdom Of Elders
by James Nadal
Published: October 8, 2016
Read "A Zoology of the Future" CD/LP/Track Review A Zoology of the Future
by John Sharpe
Published: September 23, 2016
Read "Rumbler" CD/LP/Track Review Rumbler
by Paul Rauch
Published: January 2, 2017
Read "Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959" CD/LP/Track Review Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 9, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

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!