WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING ABOUT In The Grotto

 

 

 

 

How 'Bout Now

Alison SR 114

FRED HESS Tenor Saxophone

RON MILES Cornet

JOHN GUNTHER Flute, Alto and TenorSaxophone

KEN FILIANO Bass

MATT WILSON Drums

LISTEN TO: Hold On

Selections

  • Simple Steps
  • In The Grotto
  • Hold On
  • Fortune's Finding
  • Alison's Dream
  • The Clef's: Final Chapter?
  • Ninth House

 

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Tenor 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 horn—Matt 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.

A major strength of the sound is the arranging—voices slipping in and out, brief unison sections loosening into overlapping conversations built around spirited soloing. And nobody solos like Hess—each 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.

Dan McClenaghan - All About Jazz

 

Hess 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.

Troy Collins - All About Jazz