Frank Wess

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Frank Wess; 1977

Frank Wess (born January 4, 1922 in Kansas City ; † October 30, 2013 ) was an American jazz saxophonist (tenor and alto) and flutist of African American origin, who was known to a wide audience especially from his time with Count Basie . In 2007 he received the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship as an inspired soloist and one of the most influential jazz flutists .

Live and act

Wess began with classical music and played in the Kansas All State High School Orchestra , but then switched to jazz in 1935 when moving to Washington as a saxophonist in jam sessions with other students such as Billy Taylor and performed with Blanche Calloway . After military service in World War II, where he played in a military band, he joined the Billy Eckstine Orchestra in 1946 and played with Lucky Millinder in 1947/48 , then with its singer Bullmouse Jackson. From 1949 he also played the flute, which he was able to establish as an independent instrument in jazz in the further course of his career. He studied the instrument at the Modern School of Music in Washington. From 1953 he worked in the Count Basie Orchestra , where he played tenor saxophone and flute (later also alto saxophone at Basie's request) and, together with the other "Frank" in the band, tenor saxophonist Frank Foster , contributed to their success in the 1950s contributed. According to Kunzler, his flowing, melodic playing on the flute was reminiscent of Lester Young with an airy, clean tone , while on the tenor saxophone in the Basie band he played in the more robust Coleman Hawkins style similar to Herschel Evans , while Frank Foster played the more lyrical Lester Young Style represented. From 1959 to 1964 he won the Down-Beat Critic Polls for flute. In 1964 he left Basie and played on Broadway in musical bands and backing bands for television shows (as a studio musician with ABC, e.g. for the shows by David Frost and Dick Cavett ). From 1967 he was also part of the Clark Terry big band and in 1974 (as a replacement for Hubert Laws ) in Roland Hanna's New York Jazz Quintet . Between 1984 and 1986 he led a combo with Frank Foster; he also played in the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band for ten years . In the 1980s and 1990s he worked a. a. with Mel Tormé , Sweets Edison , Billy Taylor, Benny Carter , Ernestine Anderson , Louie Bellson , 1981 to 1985 with the Dameronia group of Philly Joe Jones and with the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra ; since 1989 he has occasionally led his own big band. Wess died of kidney failure in late October 2013.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Obituary. ( Memento of the original from November 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Ottawa Citizen @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /