American tenor saxophonist, Fred Hess, Died at 74


Fred Hess was born on September 3, 1944, Abington, Pennsylvania and died on October 26, 2018.

He was an American jazz tenor saxophonist.

He grew up in New Jersey and studied at Trenton State College.

Hess’s 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.

While he was a composer, Hess influences encompass avant-garde classical sources, as well as Anthony Braxton and the members of the AACM.

Hess relocated to Boulder, Colorado, in 1981, where Hess founded the Boulder Creative Music Ensemble.

Then, Hess finish further studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, taking his doctorate in composition in 1991.

Hess recorded his first albums as a leader in the early 1990s.

Hess was the Director of Music Composition at Metro State College in Denver, Colorado.

Also to his own projects as a leader (BCME and The Fred Hess Group), Hess was the founding director of Denver’s Creative Music Works Orchestra and was a member of drummer Ginger Baker’s Denver Jazz Quintet, as well as ensembles led by trumpeter Ron Miles.

Hess’s most recent performing group was the Fred Hess Big Band.

His playing was influenced by Lester Young, John Coltrane, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, and Eric Dolphy.

He also released is Extended Family, issued in 2003 on Tapestry Records.

Fred Hess passed away at 74 years old.


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