Tapesttry #76006-2

FRED HESS Tenor Saxophone






  • Norman Says
  • Skippin' In
  • Happened Yesterday
  • MLE
  • The Clef's Visit To The Big City
  • From Bottom To Top
  • The Long And Short Of It
  • Gear Tips
  • The Last Trance





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The Long and Short of It picks up where the Denver-based saxophonist's Extended Family (Tapestry, 2002) left off. The pianoless quartet (sax, trumpet, bass and drums) takes advantage of the looseness of the compositions to extract a maximum of improvisation. It's not wailing, screaming and gnashing of teeth free jazz, but a more contained and ruminative set of sounds... with the occasional “out there” interlude to prove me wrong, I note, as I listen to trumpeter Ron Miles cut loose on the title tune.

This is great follow-up to last year's Extended Family. The same mood, same attitude, with two new voices in the mix. Additionally, Matt Wilson shows off his prowess with an electric drill on “Gear Tips,” a percussive texture that suggests a whole new array of hardware store sonic possibilities.

Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

Denver-based tenor saxophonist and composer Fred Hess has been exploring the experimental edges of jazz since his early days at the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, New York in the late 1970s. His tone is generally warm and dark, harking back to Lester Young, but he doesn't shy away from extended techniques or from unusual textures and arrangements. Accompanied by trumpeter Ron Miles, bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Matt Wilson, Hess manages to map out what sounds like genuinely new musical territory while never letting the threads of groove and harmonic coherence unravel altogether.

Rick Anderson, All Music Guide

The Fred Hess Quartet has a winner in THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT. A fine collection of original jazz compositions by Fred Hess, this CD will attract a wide listening audience. The music is innovative and full of verve. There are nine selections on the CD. Among the songs are "Norman Says," "Skippin' In," "From Bottom To Top," and "The Last Trance." Excellent production values. The musicians soar on this one! Highly recommended. Topnotch performances.

Lee Prosser, JazzReview.com

The right mix of players is a key to making his music work. The Long And The Short Of It is his third quartet record and follows 2002's Extended Family, also on Tapestry Records. Hess’ combination of musicians makes this date spot on, as they find a comfortable groove to toss around Hess’ arrangements.

The more you listen to Fred Hess’ playing, the more you'll probably compare him to the late Joe Henderson. Both are superb composers with a gentle style that fools you into believing what they do is without effort.

Mark Corroto, All About Jazz

Once again, the Denver-based saxophonist Fred Hess has demonstrated his uncanny ability to work the outside of free jazz while combining it with core values of rhythm and harmony. There is nothing pretentious about it in this adventure, which begs for return trips.

Irwin Block, Montreal Gazzette

He consistently plays with a warm tone and an adventurous spirit.
And Hess, too, manages to ply tradition even in the more experimental context of his own compositions. His ideas may be contemporary, but his smoky sound leads right back to Lester Young. The best forward-thinkers have a clear understanding of the traditions that came before them, and both Hess and Miles demonstrate a concept that ties together what has come before, enhances it and reaches forward with it well in hand.

John Kelman, JazzReview.com

Fred Hess continues his streak of playful yet challenging discs with "The Long and Short of It" (Tapestry). Hess, whose tenor sax solos show a deep knowledge of the music's history from both the "inside" and "outside" jazz camps, is always ready with a witty idea as he blazes through this set of his own compositions. Ron Miles' trumpet both complements and confronts Hess on the slippery "Happened Yesterday" and the expansive title track. "The Long and Short of It" assures Hess' place as a consummate artist working in contemporary creative music.

Bret Saunders, The Denver Post