The championship New York Yankees teams of the late 1930s included a right-fielder named Tommy Henrich, whose nickname was "Old Reliable." Similarly, multi-reedman Frank Wess was from 1953 to 1964 the "Old Reliable" for one of great dynasties of another kind of swinging, the Count Basie orchestra. Concurrent with much of his time with Basie, Wess (b. 1922) was kept busy as both leader and sideman by Prestige Records. The two dates joined here, an Oliver NelsonÐarranged, Latin-spiced octet from 1962 and a quintet session from ’63, splendidly showcase Wess’s tenor saxophone and flute (for which he’s credited as a modern jazz innovator). With outstanding fellow Basie-ites as trumpeters Al Aarons and Thad Jones, or "ringers" like Tommy Flanagan and Roy Haynes in tow, The Long Road is a prime example of mainstream-modern swinging that, in terms of repertoire, soundly chooses some alternate routes.
with Albert Aarons, Ray Barretto, George Barrow, Buddy Catlett, George Duvivier, Tommy Flanagan, Roy Haynes, Osie Johnson, Thad Jones, Gildo Mahones, Oliver Nelson