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Kenny Barron Remembers Frank Wess

1.4.22 – 10.30.13

Frank Wess performing at the Concert to Benefit the James Moody Scholarship for Newark Youth
Frank Wess
Frank Wess

I knew Frank Wess since the early ’70s, when we first worked together with Yusef Lateef. We traveled quite a bit together and played together often in New York. That he was a fantastic musician goes without saying.

I played for a while in the Two Franks band, with Frank Wess and Frank Foster, and that was wonderful. To hear the two of them play together, the fire they generated between them, was just marvelous. And then Frank would play one of those pretty ballads of his, with that sound, on alto-he would play ballads in that band on alto-and it was unreal. I loved to hear him play ballads. He could play a ballad that would make you cry. We did a record with Grady Tate, where Grady just sings [the 2002 import All Love: Grady Tate Sings]. When Grady did a ballad, “Don’t Misunderstand,” and Frank took a solo on that-oh, wow. Those ballads hit me hard.

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Originally Published