Happy Birthday to Frank Wess born on this day in Kansas City, Missouri 1922. Tenor, Alto saxophonist and Flautist. Known for his work with Josephine Baker, Billy Eckstine, Eddie Heywood, Lucky Millinder, Bull Moose Jackson, and Count Basie Orchestra. He worked in the studios and played in various shows all over New York City.
He was contracted to ABC for ten years for his work on “Saturday Night Live”, the Dick Cavett-Show, the Sammy Davis TV-Show, etc.
For about twenty years he played in a quintet called “Two Franks” with Frank Foster, his colleague from the Basie days.
In 2007 Wess was named an NEA Jazz Master by the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts.
“Once is not Enough”, Frank Wess’ newest release is capturing his optimism and romanticism very well. All the nonet pieces are full of light-hearted energy which reminds listener of Frank’s long career with the Basie Band. Another Basie alumni, Mr. Dennis Mackrel’s arrangements of Frank’s originals are dynamic, strong and musical.