Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

235

The Fred Hess Band: Single Moment

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Denver-based tenor saxophonist Fred Hess is an under-sung yet vital presence in the Mid-Western jazz scene. His current quartet with Ron Miles (trumpet), Ken Filiano (bass) and Matt Wilson (drums) first recorded together on The Long and Short of It (Tapestry, 2004). A prolific post-bop ensemble, they have issued three follow-up albums in as many years, and while they have often been joined by another horn player, the core line-up has not changed.

Dominated by standards and classic covers, Single Moment is somewhat of a departure for Hess and his veteran ensemble. The quartet is joined by guitarist Dale Bruning and flutist/alto saxophonist John Gunther, who was featured on their previous session, In The Grotto (Alison, 2007). A one time member of vibraphonist Red Norvo's quintet, Bruning is a distinctive stylist and long-time educator whose roster of famous guitar students includes Bill Frisell.

The predominance of traditional material lends this date a far more mainstream aura than Hess' usual output. Two sublime pieces by Benny Golson ("Thursday's Theme" and "Out of the Past"), a sensitive tenor and guitar duet on Kaper and Kahn's "While My Lady Sleeps" and a tender solo guitar rendition of Rogers and Hart's "Spring is Here" are given elegant readings. Bruning contributes two of his own tunes, the lilting waltz "Dancing with Daffodils" and the Rollins-esque calypso "Port O' Call," which provide rhythmic variety.

Hess' ability to pen a timeless tune is exemplified by the seamlessness with which his originals blend into a session dominated by standards. "Blues for Bonnie Bell" is a casual blues, while "Norman's Gold" is a buoyant swinger. Replete with punchy counterpoint, ebullient rhythms and a series of interweaving solos, the tune is reminiscent of the modernist Post-War efforts of Oliver Nelson and George Russell.

Only "Return of the Clefs" and the title track veer into 'outside' territory. The continuing saga of Hess' favorite fictional family is a dissonant tone poem of chattering horns and radiant percussive accents that coalesce into a faltering march rhythm that recalls The Art Ensemble of Chicago.

A tribute to the late saxophonist Michael Brecker, the titular "Single Moment," is the album's climactic centerpiece. An episodic composition that ranges from buoyant to introspective, this loosely constructed, airy suite is composed around some of Brecker's key themes and features brief searching statements from each member of the group.

Reworking the tradition from his own unique perspective, Hess avoids radical deconstructions of standard material, choosing instead to deal with these tunes as venerable classics. An incisive set that spans the history of jazz, this date sheds new light on Hess' abilities as an arranger and interpreter, rather than his deft skills as a soloist, making Single Moment his most accessible and refined recording.

Track Listing: Blues For Bonnie Belle; Dancing With Daffodils; Norman's Gold; While My Lady Sleeps; Port O' Call; Thursday's Theme; Out of the Past; Return of the Clefs; Spring Is Here; Single Moment.

Personnel: Fred Hess: tenor saxophone; Ron Miles: trumpet; John Gunther: flute, alto saxophone; Dale Bruning: guitar; Ken Filiano: bass; Matt Wilson: drums.

Title: Single Moment | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Alison

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Blues For Bonnie Belle

Blues For Bonnie Belle

Fred Hess
Speak

Album Reviews
Read more articles
Speak

Speak

Alison Records
2012

buy
Into the Open

Into the Open

Alison Records
2011

buy
Hold On

Hold On

Dazzle Recordings
2009

buy
Single Moment

Single Moment

Alison Records
2008

buy
In The Grotto

In The Grotto

Alison Records
2007

buy
How 'Bout Now

How 'Bout Now

Tapestry
2006

buy

Related Articles

Read We Are On The Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration Album Reviews
We Are On The Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
By Mark Corroto
April 25, 2019
Read Golem Dance Album Reviews
Golem Dance
By Friedrich Kunzmann
April 25, 2019
Read New Jazz Standards, Vol. 4 Album Reviews
New Jazz Standards, Vol. 4
By Dan Bilawsky
April 24, 2019
Read Open Form For Society Album Reviews
Open Form For Society
By Mark Corroto
April 24, 2019
Read Yes Album Reviews
Yes
By John Sharpe
April 24, 2019
Read Avec le temps Album Reviews
Avec le temps
By Mark Sullivan
April 23, 2019
Read Snaketime: The Music Of Moondog Album Reviews
Snaketime: The Music Of Moondog
By Mark Corroto
April 23, 2019