If you’re like me, sometimes you just need to hear a little Frank Wess (1922–2013). And next time you do, check out Magic 201, the wildly enjoyable sequel to last year’s Magic 101…. If you don’t have both, go get them. Even at age 89, Wess still had an abundance of pure magic.
There's something really unique on this album – a different way of blowing and phrasing that add in a level of humanity that we never heard this strongly from Frank – especially in his work of the 90s.
New York City Jazz Record
It’s a definitive expression of his exceptional ability and a final beautiful gift to us of what an artist can give when imagination, experience, technique and heart are all his to share.
Back in June I recommended saxophonist and flutist Frank Wess’s Magic 101, saying that it was “clearly going to go down as one of the four or five best jazz albums of 2013.” Now that 2013 is over I can say that I was right, and I’m now prepared to predict that this one will be among the very best of 2014. The album is fantastic and is highly recommended to all jazz collections.
I reviewed a wonderful IPO album a few months back: Frank Wess’ Magic 101. I stated that it was the best jazz record I’d heard that year. Well, thanks to splendid foresight, Magic 201was recorded during that same session ... and it’s every bit as sensational as its predecessor.
How appropriate that the final song on this disc is “If It’s the Last Thing I Do.” If this turns out to be the last recording we’ll hear from Wess, no one could ask for anything