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Two Franks: Dueling Saxes

Frank Wess, a saxophonist revered in the jazz world, is renowned for his dynamic collaborations with fellow saxophonist Frank Foster. These two legends of jazz saxophone created memorable performances and recordings, enchanting audiences and professionals alike with their dueling saxophones.

Wess joined the Count Basie Orchestra in 1953, a pivotal move in his career. His tenure with the orchestra was marked by his remarkable skills on both saxophone and flute, significantly shaping the “New Testament” Basie band sound. A standout feature of these performances was his duels with tenor saxophonist Frank Foster, which became a hallmark of the orchestra’s shows.

Their collaboration extended into the studio, resulting in celebrated albums like “Two for the Blues,” recorded in 1983 and released on the Pablo label in 1984. This album was lauded as an excellent showcase of the two Franks at their best, with Foster playing tenor and soprano saxophones and Wess on tenor saxophone, flute, and alto​​​​. The album features a mix of original compositions and standards, including tracks like “Two for the Blues,” “Your Beauty Is a Song of Love,” and “Heat of Winter” by Foster​​.

These recordings and performances showcase the synergy between Frank Wess and Frank Foster, two saxophonists who effortlessly blended their individual styles to create a unique and captivating sound. Their work is a testament to the rich history of jazz saxophone, offering a compelling narrative of musical collaboration and innovation.

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