HESS Tenor Saxophone
GUNTHER Flute, Alto and TenorSaxophone
LISTEN TO: Hold
Clef's: Final Chapter?
the other CDs!
saxophonist Hess's artistry took an evolutionary leap with
his piano-less quartet disc, Extended Family (Tapestry Records,
2002). He has since put out, in clockwork fashion, four similar
sets, each of them nudging his artistry further along. On
How 'Bout Now (Tapestry, 2006) he added an extra hornMatt
Harris on alto saxophone. Hess does the same on In the Grotto,
bringing in John Gunther (alto sax and flute), filling in
the background with a wider range of colors.
major strength of the sound is the arrangingvoices slipping
in and out, brief unison sections loosening into overlapping
conversations built around spirited soloing. And nobody solos
like Hesseach turn he takes glows and flashes like a
dark-hued, asymmetrically-cut diamond. Indeed, nobody makes
music like Fred Hess. He has developed a truly original sound.
McClenaghan - All About Jazz
is a compelling stylist; his breathy old school tone softens
his modernist angular phrasing. A creative soul whose work
never fails to swing, Hess is a traditionalist at heart. Efficiently
blending classic hard bop swing and Third Stream ambience
with fiery improvisation and experimental structures, In The
Grotto is Hess' most expansive statement to date.
Collins - All About Jazz