Fred Hess

Saxophonist Fred Hess shows no signs of caring about stardom or fame or any of the other forces that drive so many of his fellow musicians. He's more concerned with nudging his work forward day by day, month by month, recording by recording -- and his latest disc, How 'Bout Now, documents his progress. As usual, he's surrounded by impeccable associates, including bassist Ken Filiano, drummer Matt Wilson and trumpeter Ron Miles, plus Mark Harris, whose alto saxophoning mingles beautifully with Hess's tenor lines. The material is entertainingly eclectic; the disc contains solo showcases ("Sooz Blues"), delicate mood pieces ("Song for Susan") and unpredictable compositional slaloms ("The Clef's Ski Vacation"). Such tunes will get a live workout when Hess and company visit Auraria's St. Cajetan's Center at 3 p.m. on Sunday, February 19. Call 303-556-3180 for more information -- including confirmation that the show is free. Hess may not get rich playing such gigs, but that's all right with him.


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