TheaterMania Logo

About this show

Frank Wess is revered as a smoothly swinging tenor saxophone player in the Lester Young tradition, as an expert alto saxophonist, and as one of the most influential, instantly recognizable flutists in jazz history. During World War II, Frank began his career by playing tenor saxophone and solo clarinet in the army band and later led a band accompanying Josephine Baker. After being discharged, he went on to play in the bands of Billy Eckstine, Eddie Heywood, Lucky Millinder and Bull Moose Jackson. In 1953 Frank joined the Count Basie Orchestra, in which he played tenor saxophone, flute and alto saxophone until 1964, when he moved to New York City to lead his own groups and play with groups such as such as the New York Jazz Quartet and Dameronia. From his Basie days, he formed a unique partnership with fellow tenor player Frank Foster and utilized the popularity of the Basie band to introduce the flute as an independent voice to jazz audiences, becoming one of its first major soloists. Wess and Foster continued working together in a quintet called "Two Franks" for almost twenty years. From the late 80's to the early 90's, Wess led a successful Basie-style big band featuring many of the original band's alumni such as Harry "Sweets" Edison, Joe Newman, Snooky Young, Al Grey, Benny Powell, Marshal Royal and Billy Mitchell. In 2007, Frank Wess received America's Highest Honor in Jazz, the prestigious NEA Jazz Masters Award. Today, at 88 years old, Frank hasn't slowed down, and he remains one of jazz's highest ranking and respected musicians on the scene.

Show Details