Born in Abington, Pennsylvania, Hess grew up in New Jersey, attending Trenton State College, before moving to Colorado in 1981. In 1991, he graduated with a doctorate in music composition from the University of Colorado, Boulder. His early experiences include studies with saxophonist Phil Woods, a stint with bandleader Fred Waring, and composing music for the world premiere of a Sam Shepard play. As a composer, his influences encompass avant-garde classical sources, as well as Anthony Braxton and the members of the AACM. He currently is Director of Music Composition at The Metropolitan State College of Denver.
Committed to exploring the boundaries of both notated and improvised music, Hess attended the Creative Music Studio, Woodstock, NY, in 1979. Moving to Colorado, he began the Boulder Creative Music Ensemble in 1982. In addition to his own projects as a leader (BCME and The Fred Hess Group), he was the founding director of Denver’s Creative Music Works Orchestra and has been a member of drummer Ginger Baker’s Denver Jazz Quintet, as well as ensembles led by trumpeter Ron Miles. His current performing groups are the Fred Hess Quartet and the Fred Hess/Marc Sabatella Duo.…full bio
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