Frank Wess

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Frank Wess
Frank Wess & Jimmy Owens.jpg
Frank Wess (left) and Jimmy Owens (1977)
Background information
Born(1922-01-04)January 4, 1922
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
DiedOctober 30, 2013(2013-10-30) (aged 91)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
GenresJazz
OccupationsMusician
InstrumentsTenor saxophone
Alto Saxophone
Flute
Years active1950s – 2013
 
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Frank Wess
Frank Wess & Jimmy Owens.jpg
Frank Wess (left) and Jimmy Owens (1977)
Background information
Born(1922-01-04)January 4, 1922
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
DiedOctober 30, 2013(2013-10-30) (aged 91)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
GenresJazz
OccupationsMusician
InstrumentsTenor saxophone
Alto Saxophone
Flute
Years active1950s – 2013

Frank Wellington Wess (January 4, 1922 – October 30, 2013) was an American jazz saxophonist and flautist.

Biography[edit]

Early life and career[edit]

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 was interrupted during World War II although he did play with a military band in the period. After being demobbed, he joined Billy Eckstine's orchestra.[1] He returned to Washington DC a few years afterwards 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.[2] He was a member of Clark Terry's big band from 1967 into the 1970s and played in the New York Jazz Quartet (with Roland Hanna).[3] He also did a variety of work for TV.[4] In 1968 Wess contributed to the landmark album The Jazz Composer's Orchestra.

Later career[edit]

In the 1980s and 1990s, 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, Jane Jarvis, Frank Vignola and was a featured member of the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra. In the 2000s, Wess released two albums with Hank Jones. In 2007, Wess was named an NEA Jazz Master by the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts.

Frank Wess died from a heart attack related to kidney failure on October 30, 2013.[5][6]

Discography[edit]

As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Toshiko Akiyoshi

With Gene Ammons

With Dorothy Ashby

With Count Basie

With Bobby Hutcherson

With Milt Jackson

With Elvin Jones

With Thad Jones

With Yusef Lateef

With Arif Mardin

With Oliver Nelson

With Chico O'Farrill

With Houston Person

With Woody Shaw

With Zoot Sims

With Melvin Sparks

With Leon Spencer

With Billy Taylor

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Frank Wess: The Message of Swing". Allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Scott Yanow (1922-01-04). "Frank Wess | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  4. ^ "Frank Wess". Hpnewyork.com. 1922-01-04. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  5. ^ Hum, Peter. "RIP, Frank Wess | Ottawa Citizen". Blogs.ottawacitizen.com. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  6. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/04/arts/music/frank-wess-91-flutist-for-the-basie-band-dies.html?ref=obituaries&_r=0
  7. ^ "Zoot Sims Discography". Jazzdisco.org. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 

External links[edit]