MP3 Fred Hess/Marc Sabatella - Right At Home
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11 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Traditional Jazz Combo, JAZZ: Post-Bop
Fred Hess has a winner in his duo work with gifted pianist Marc Sabatella in the CD collection titled RIGHT AT HOME. What makes this collection of contemporary jazz work so well is the superb talents of Hess and Sabatella in both solo and unison formats of musical expression. Both men are at the height of their performance powers, and each song is a gem.
Get this CD and settle back in a comfortable chair and enjoy some of the finest piano and tenor saxophone performances around. Highly enjoyable listening!
Lee Prosser - Jazz Loft
Fans who have followed his career for the past couple of decades know Hess for his unique and ingenious voice, and his fearless exploration of sound and meaning.
This is nowhere more in evidence than on his new effort with pianist Marc Sabatella, "Right at Home." It's a fascinating and listenable series of duets that range from straight free jazz to wry, intriguing postbop. His fine musical intelligence is matched by Sabatella's impeccable keyboard work, and both are ably supported by engineer Colin Bricker's crystal-clear captures.
Hess pays tribute to Coltrane in his liner notes, and his work here never fails to push at the boundaries, just as Coltrane's did. From the opening stutter-step syncopations of the opening track, "Home Base," Hess and Sabatella weave liquid skeins of sound that never come unraveled. It's a series of daredevils feats, continuing through the title track's breakdown escapades, the grand, lyrical changes rung on "Joe Said," the mad-scientist found-sound "What Else?," and the sweet scribblings of "Feel It."
This music is not for the fair of heart - it's tough, sharp stuff that doesn't deign to appeal to mushy, feel-good appetites. However, its rigorous bravado is hypnotic, a must for those who know that jazz is not an obsolete genre and are excited to hear what's fresh and inventive.
- Brad Weismann - Colorado Daily
Saxophone/piano duets can be risky business. Because drums and bass are omitted, the musicians are more vulnerable and exposed; weaknesses and imperfections become more noticeable. But on the other hand, the sax/piano format can be rewarding if the players know what they're doing and have a strong rapport--and that format works well on Right at Home, which finds tenor man Fred Hess teaming up with acoustic pianist Marc Sabatella. No drums or bass are employed on this CD--just Hess' tenor and Sabatella's piano, and that proves to be a good thing because the jazzmen are very much in sync. The two of them enjoy a satisfying post-bop dialogue throughout the album, which was recorded in 2002 and is devoted to Hess' own compositions. No one will accuse Right at Home of going out of its way to be accessible; as a composer and soloist, Hess tends to favor an angular, cerebral, mildly avant-garde style of post-bop. Right at Home has an inside/outside outlook; the CD isn't as far to the left as a typical Anthony Braxton date, but Hess' pieces do draw on the more abstract writing of improvisers like Steve Lacy and Joe Lovano. And Sabatella is a perfect partner for Hess because he's such a broad-minded player. Sabatella has been influenced by a wide variety of pianists--everyone from Bill Evans and Dave Brubeck to Cecil Taylor and Thelonious Monk--and he can handle a wide variety of situations. So whatever Hess sends Sabatella's way, he knows how to respond and rises to the occasion. Albums as intellectual as Right at Home aren't for everyone, but those who have a taste for abstraction will find a lot to like about these Hess/Sabatella duets.
-- Alex Henderson - All Music Guide
The duoâs influences are many. One hears historic Steve Lacy/Mal Waldron, George Adams/Don Pullen, and Art Pepper/George Cables duos echoed in this recording. Hess and Sabatella draw from swing to free improvisation to create their jazz statement. They borrow equally from history, applying a chamber music approach to jazz. Sabatella works two-handed magic on âCathyâs Taffyâ splitting his solo from left-brain synchronized runs to right-brain improvisation. Sabatella responds in kind to Hessâ advances. His Thelonious Monk meets Cecil Taylor patterns on the improvised âNotes and Valuesâ is a sort of frenzied deconstructing dance. Hessâ saxophone oofs and squeaks with satisfaction.
Their improvised pieces seem to be merely relief from the congruity of the remaining Hess compositions. Drawing from blues forms, âGood Question,â post-bop styling âLutherâs Promise,â and swing references âFeel Itâ the pair work through notated music with comfortable ease. Hess cites Joe Lovano as a personal hero. His tribute on âJoe Saidâ and his playing throughout this recording showcases a silky scarf over a cashmere sweater sound.
Mark Corroto - All About Jazz
Born in Abington, Pennsylvania, Hess grew up in New Jersey, attending Trenton State College, before moving to Colorado in 1981. He graduated with a doctorate in music composition from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1991. His early experiences include studies with saxophonist Phil Woods, a stint with bandleader Fred Waring, and composing music for the world premiere of a Sam Shepard play. As a composer, his influences encompass the contributions of the great figures in jazz history, avant-garde classical sources, as well as Anthony Braxton and the members of the AACM. He is currently Director of Composition at The Metropolitan State College of Denver.
Committed to exploring the boundaries of notated and improvised music, Fred Hess attended the Creative Music Studio, Woodstock, NY (1979), founded the Boulder Creative Music Ensemble (1982), Denverâs Creative Music Works Orchestra (1993), and was a member of drummer Ginger Bakerâs DJQ.
Recording twelve CDs under his own name, Hess received Coloradoâs Composition Fellowship (1986/1994), won Denverâs inaugural Hennessey Jazz Search (1991), the Jazz Composers Alliance, Julius Hemphill Award (2000), and first prize at the First International Jazz Composers Symposium (2006). Favorable articles and reviews have appeared in DownBeat, Jazziz, JazzTimes, Coda, The Wire, JazzWise, Cadence, and online jazz websites.
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