Frank Wess Quintet: 91st Birthday Celebration
Frank Wess Quintet (Frank Wess (tenor sax/flute),George Cables (piano), Roni Ben-Hur (guitar), Santi Debriano (bass), Victor Lewis (drums) will perform on Tuesday-Saturday, January 1-5 at Birdland, New York, NY in honor of Wess's 91st Birthday Celebration. Frank Wess is revered both as a saxophonist in the Lester Young tradition and as one of the most influential - instantly recognizable - flutists in jazz. During World War II, Frank played sax and clarinet in the army band and later led a band accompanying Josephine Baker.
He went on to play in the bands of Billy Eckstine, Eddie Heywood and Lucky Millinder. In 1953 Frank joined the Count Basie Orchestra on saxophone and flute until 1964 when he moved to New York City to lead his own groups. From his Basie days, he formed a unique partnership with fellow tenor player Frank Foster and introduced the flute as a distinct jazz sound. Wess and Foster continued working together in a quintet called "Two Franks" for almost twenty years. In the 1980's and 90's, Wess led a successful Basie-style big band featuring many Basie alumni such as Harry "Sweets" Edison, Joe Newman, Snooky Young, Al Grey, Benny Powell, Marshal Royal and Billy Mitchell. In 2007, Wess received the prestigious NEA Jazz Masters Award.
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