Frank Wess: Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words)


Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words)


Frank Wess Nonet


Once Is Not Enough (Labeth Music LMCD 101)


Frank Wess (flute), Frank Greene (trumpet), Terell Stafford (trumpet), Steve Turre (trombone), Ted Nash (alto sax), Scott Robinson (reeds, arranger), Gerald Clayton (piano), Peter Washington (bass), Winard Harper (drums).

Composed by Bart Howard, arranged by Scott Robinson


Recorded: New York, June 10, 2008


Rating: 84/100 (learn more)

During his tenure with Count Basie in the 1950s and '60s, tenor saxophonist/flutist Frank Wess probably had occasion to play the Quincy Jones arrangement of "Fly Me to the Moon" more times than he'd care to count. Jones's arrangement for the Frank Sinatra/Count Basie team is arguably the classic version of the tune, so any other featuring a former Basie-ite—especially this former Basie-ite, who has firsthand knowledge of those famous flute lines—is bound to invite comparison. That said, I'll try to resist and address this one on its merits. Arranger Scott Robinson's version for Wess's nonet is harmonically fussy and overwrought. At times he seems to be trying to make the cut-down horn sections (two trumpets, one trombone, and two saxes) imitate a full-sized big band. It's an ill-conceived strategy. The performance ends up sounding like a big band rehearsal where half the group called in sick. On the positive side, Wess sounds wonderful. Ultimately, any opportunity we get to hear him solo—especially on flute—is time well spent.

Reviewer: Chris Kelsey


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