So many tenor sax players, so little time! Nevertheless, Fred Hess leaps in with these top flight entries that stand out from the crowd.
On Perry ST Gets going with some minimalist drum work that sets the stage for an extended improvisation. Street trumpet is supplied by Ron Miles, and the finishing interplay with Hess becomes a living breathing jazz thing. On Zane Bassist Filiano builds a bandstand out of his notes that includes D'Arco style, while the rest of the piece gets the Hess/Miles treatment. In The No Begins with Hess blowing opening phrases that are joined by Miles briefly. Then Filiano squeezes a flowing and beautiful bass that is quick but unhurried.Knitwit For Tara Gets the Hessian makeover with smooth tenor lines that are blended with Miles dotted trumpet notes. Eventually the horn players break into free form solos that ride the crest of controlled chaos. The rhythm section continuous in "Ornette" style to a solid ending.FunhouseHere a playful entry gives new meaning to the term "play freely".Filiano walks us from room to room in a place filled with surprises.The Clef's Visit Grandma's A youthful "run from the car to the house" sketch. Eventually the Clef's run unsupervised around Grandma, and soon begin to explore the dark corners of the chart. The music is victorious in the end with a type of Ellingtonian chatter.Crossed Paths The title song is another Hess-Miles collaboration that elevates the art form without being too intrusive. This one had a finger-snapping mid-section that was unbeatable.Mystery Woman A soft entry starts building details that very soon becomes Untying The Knot which takes off with expressive tenor over solemn bass backing. Both horn players are fluid in their phrases while Filiano bows soulfully throughout. Wilson contributes a syncopated tick-tock drum comp.