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Frank Wess

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Frank Wess (born January 4, 1922 in Kansas City – October 30, 2013) is an American jazz musician, who has played saxophone (both alto and tenor) and flute.

He began with classical music and played in Oklahoma. He later switched to jazz on moving to Washington, D. C. and by nineteen was working in the Big Bands. His career would be interrupted during World War II although he did play with a military band in the period. On returning from service he joined Billy Eckstine’s orchestra.[1]

He returned to DC a few years after this and received a degree in flute at the city’s Modern School Of Music. From 1953 he joined Count Basie’s band, playing flute and tenor sax. He reverted to alto sax in the late ’50s, and left Basie’s band in 1964. Since then he has done a variety of TV shows and telethons.[2]

From 1960 to 1964 he won Down Beat’s critic poll for flute.[3]

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