4 January – Frank Wess

Frank Wellington Wess (4 January 1922 – 30 October 2013) was an American jazz saxophonist and flautist.

Wess’s first instrument was the alto sax, which he learned to play as a child. He started working in big bands when he was 19 and continued to play during the Second World War in army bands. From 1953 to 1964, he was in Count Basie’s band, first playing flute and tenor sax, then switching to alto.

He recorded dozens of LPs with Basie and introduced the flute as an independent voice to jazz audiences, becoming one of its first major soloists. During this time, he and fellow tenor player Frank Foster formed a unique and long-lasting partnership – known as the Two Franks.

Wess later played in Clark Terry’s big band and the New York Jazz Quartet. He also collaborated with a wide range of other musicians and enjoyed a long studio and TV career.

Information from and Wikipedia



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