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Musician

Frank Wess

Born:

Frank Wess (born January 4, 1922 in Kansas City) is an American jazz musician, who has played saxophone (both alto and tenor) and flute.

He began with classical music and played in Oklahoma. He later switched to jazz on moving to Washington, D. C. and by nineteen was working in the Big Bands. His career would be interrupted during World War II although he did play with a military band in the period. On returning from service he joined Billy Eckstine's orchestra.

He returned to DC a few years after this and received a degree in flute at the city's Modern School Of Music. From 1953 he joined Count Basie's band, playing flute and tenor sax. He reverted to alto sax in the late '50s, and left Basie's band in 1964. From 1959 to 1964 he won Down Beat's critic poll for flute. Since then he has done a variety of TV shows and telethons. He was a member of Clark Terry's big band from 1967 into the '70s and played in the New York Quartet (with Roland Hanna). In the '80s and '90s, he worked with Kenny Barron, Rufus Reid, Buck Clayton, Benny Carter, Billy Taylor, Harry Edison, Mel Tormé, Ernestine Anderson, Louie Bellson, John Pizzarelli, Howard Alden, Dick Hyman, Byron Stripling, Jane Jarvis, Frank Vignola and was a featured member of the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra.

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Article: First Time I Saw

Jimmy Rowles

Read "Jimmy Rowles" reviewed by Carol Sloane


Part 1 I had just finished my night's work at a long-since vanished jazz club in Greenwich Village called Hopper's. I was singing with The New York Jazz Quartet: Sir Roland Hanna, George Mraz, Richie Pratt, and Frank Wess. The year was 1977. Mraz said he was going to walk over to Bradley's* to listen to ...

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Article: Profile

Paula West and the Art of Making Art

Read "Paula West and the Art of Making Art" reviewed by Mathew Bahl


Jazz singing is like a horse race. To the casual eye, all the horses in the stall look the same. But they aren't. Some have more talent. Some are better trained. Some have better jockeys. Some are more exciting to watch. But no matter what we see or don't see, what the odds might be, or ...

10

Article: Album Review

Dorothy Ashby: With Strings Attached, 1957-1965

Read "With Strings Attached, 1957-1965" reviewed by John Chacona


Imagine if Sidney Bechet, Charlie Christian and Jimmy Smith were barely remembered and recordings of their music were long unavailable and known only on the geekiest corners of Discogs. That is essentially the status of harpist Dorothy Ashby. Like the three figures cited above, Ashby essentially created a language for her chosen instrument, the harp, where ...

Article: Profile

Dorothy Ashby: With Strings Attached, 1957-1965

Read "Dorothy Ashby: With Strings Attached, 1957-1965" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi


Questo lussuoso cofanetto di sei LP in edizione limitata dedicato all'arpista Dorothy Ashby è un importante contributo che colma l'attuale vuoto di registrazioni e rende giustizia a un'artista tanto importante quanto dimenticata. Non troverete il suo nome sulle massime storie ed enciclopedie del jazz, e la sua morte prematura dell'aprile 1986 (aveva 55 anni) fu data ...

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Article: Liner Notes

Wondering: Harvie S and Roni Ben-Hur featuring Sylvia Cuenca

Read "Wondering: Harvie S and Roni Ben-Hur featuring Sylvia Cuenca" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


Though it may seem to be shrouded in mystery, there's a clear explanation for the dovetailing dynamic and palpable chemistry between guitarist Roni Ben-Hur and bassist Harvie S. “We listen intently and we play with a lot of generosity toward each other," shares the noted six-stringer. Believe it or not, it's as simple--and sophisticated--as that.

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Article: Year in Review

2022: The Year in Jazz

Read "2022: The Year in Jazz" reviewed by Ken Franckling


Current events impacted the jazz world in significant ways throughout 2022. In its third year, the coronavirus pandemic continued to lurk in some settings, while others recovered in robust fashion. Russia's war on Ukraine was felt by musicians and triggered an outpouring of support for its victims. Initiatives to ensure greater equity in jazz advanced. The ...

News: Video / DVD

Backgrounder: Frank Wess's 'Trombones & Flute'

Backgrounder: Frank Wess's 'Trombones & Flute'

Frank Wess was a powerhouse big-band tenor saxophonist and flutist and a lyrical player in small groups, especially those he led. One of my favorite ensemble albums by Wess is Trombones & Flute, which he recorded for Savoy in July 1956. The personnel featured a chunk of Count Basie's band, for which Wess played at the ...

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Article: Interview

Bill Charlap's Stardust

Read "Bill Charlap's Stardust" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan


From the 1995-2003 archive: This article first appeared at All About Jazz in April 2002. As was evident in his first trio releases for Criss Cross, pianist Bill Charlap is genuinely interested in beauty. In his hands, even the most overt swingers seem to find melody expressed as a prime ingredient, with a lithe ...

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Article: Album Review

Eyal Vilner Big Band: The Jam!

Read "The Jam!" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Simply leading a big band in 2022 is cause for celebration. Leading a big band as sharp and talented as Eyal Vilner's New York- based ensemble is cause for far more than that. Vilner, an Israeli-born composer, arranger and woodwind specialist, formed the band in 2008, one year after arriving in New York City. He has ...


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