CD: Frank Wess

Frank Wess, Magic 201 (IPO)

Magic 201The final track of the great tenor saxophonist and flutist’s final album is a lovely performance of Sammy Cahn’s 1937 standard “If it’s the Last Thing I Do,” giving the CD added poignancy. Wess died in October, 2013, after decades as one of the most respected members of the jazz generation that came to prominence after World War Two. No tempo in the album is above a medium walk, but you don’t go to Frank Wess expecting speed. You expect profundity, and that’s what you get here. As in Magic 101, his colleagues are pianist Kenny Barron, guitarist Russell Malone, bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Winard Harper. Wess’s “Embraceable You” duet with Barron is perfection.

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