Wess– also a fine saxophonist — has a list of credits including the Billy Eckstine Orchestra in the late ’40s and Count Basie’s legendary 1950s band with Frank Foster. He won the Down Beat critic’s poll for flute for six consecutive years between 1959 and 1964.
Celebrated flutist, saxophonist, and NEA Jazz Master Frank Wess died earlier today (October 30, 2013) of kidney failure, as confirmed by his partner Sara Tsutsumi. He was 91. Wess, full name Frank Wellington Wess, was born in Kansas City, MO on January 4, 1922.
One of my favorite small-group jazz albums of the mid-1950s is Frank Wess’s Trombones & Flute.The album, recorded for Savoy in July 1956, paired Wess on flute with four trombonists—Jimmy Cleveland, Henry Coker, Benny Powell and Bill Hughes.