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.
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.
McClenaghan, All About Jazz
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
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.
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
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.
Corroto, All About Jazz
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
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
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