Primary Instrument: Guitar
Scott Hesse is a talented, technically adept, young jazz artist. His debut recording, Intuition, is a solidly swinging effort that shows his affinity for the straight-ahead, as well as a more subtle awareness of the jazz avant-garde. Joel Roberts, All About Jazz
In a word, Hesse can play-and he can write too. Hesse’s compositions are melodic and plainspoken, as is his manner of playing the guitar. [His] tasteful single-note lines sparkle like sunlight on clear water. The tone is lucid and charming, the Jazz sensibility keen and persuasive. Jack Bowers, Jazz Now Magazine
The freshest sound I have heard yet of all the guitarists of his generation. George Benson
In the November 1999 issue of L.A. Jazz Scene, interviewer Bill Donaldson asks guitarist/Blue Note recording artist Rodney Jones, Are there any guitarists pushing the envelope? Jones responds, There are a couple of guys here in New York. Scott Hesse is originally from Iowa, and he has played things on guitar that I've never heard anyone else play before. He plays in a way that's very un-guitaristic. It's like he's interested in playing music, versus playing the guitar. I would say he's at the forefront of the young guys I've heard.
The Flame Within The Fire is a powerful and very personal artistic statement from guitarist Scott Hesse. Central to this thesis is the notion that the improvised art form cannot always be reduced to the level of triadic harmony and simplistic charts. Hesse's music is all about dialogue and development within an expert ensemble; students of next-generation improvised musical art should benefit from the advanced ideas presented here.
In eight original pieces, clichéd, virtuoso displays are avoided in favor of a decidedly original harmonic concept. Especially on the futuristic title track, the ensemble demonstrates a masterful command of chromatics and orchestral color … the leader invites comparisons with guitarist Jim Hall only to the extent that his music is consistently challenging and unpredictable.This is an excellent session. James D. Armstrong, Jr., JazzNow magazine, October 2001
The Flame Within The Fire is a fresh and innovative contemporary jazz collection. These jazz compositions will appeal to a wide range of jazz listeners. [This recording] is enjoyable, sparkles with imagination, and is a definite winner in recent contemporary jazz releases. A talented group and a talented series of performances, this makes for a fine adventure in contemporary jazz listening. Lee Prosser, JazzReview.com
Scott Hesse grew up in Sioux City, Iowa, where he began playing the guitar at age fourteen. A year and a half later he began performing in his father's 12-piece territory big band throughout the Midwest. As a junior in high school, Scott was chosen to participate in the Clark Terry Youth Express big band, which included performances with Terry.
After graduating from high school in 1989, Scott attended Eastern Illinois University. There he studied for three years with New Orleans piano legend Henry Butler. In 1994, Scott moved to New York City to attend Manhattan School of Music where he continued his music education with renowned guitarist/recording artist, Rodney Jones.
During the better part of 10 years spent living in New York, Scott performed at many of the city's top jazz venues including Visione's, Sweet Basil, Small's, Smoke, Augie's, Cleopatra's Needle, and in Central Park. He has also shared the stage with many jazz artists including Pete Yellin, Benny Powell, Harold Mabern, Dennis Mackrel, Mark Egan, Akira Tana, Grady Tate, Brad Mehldau, Ira Coleman, Mark Turner, Myron Walden, Stefon Harris, Regina Carter, Cameron Brown, Judi Silvano, Andy Bey, Phillip Harper, Teodross Avery, and David Amram.
Scott held faculty positions at Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie, NY, The State University of New York (SUNY) in New Paltz, and The New School in Manhattan. Students from Manhattan School of Music, Berklee College of Music, City College of New York City, Swarthmore College in Philadelphia, and Wesleyan University in Connecticut also sought Scott out for instruction. In addition, Scott has been a faculty headliner at the University of Okoboji Reggie Schive Summer Jazz Camp in Iowa since 1997.
In 2001, Scott was invited to take part in the prestigious Steans Institute for Young Artists. Along with twenty-three other up-and-coming young jazz artists, Scott was hand-picked to participate in the Jazz at Ravinia Festival outside of Chicago. During the week-long festival, Scott played with such jazz luminaries as James Moody, Danilo Perez, Rufus Reid, Dr. David Baker, and Nathan Davis. The week culminated in a concert during Jazz Week at Ravinia's summer music festival.
Scott moved to Chicago in late 2004 and is now active in the city's vibrant jazz scene. As a member of Vincent Davis' Percussion Plus ensemble, featuring tenor giant Edward Wilkerson, Jr., Scott plays regularly at the legendary Velvet Lounge. Scott has also performed at some of the city's other top jazz clubs including Andy's, The HotHouse, Katerina's, and The Green Mill. In September of 2005, Scott participated in the 27th annual Chicago Jazz Festival as a part of jazz master Wendell Harrison’s quartet.
Scott holds a BA in music from Empire State College in New York and is currently working towards his master's degree in jazz composition from DePaul University in Chicago.
Scott has two critically acclaimed recordings: Intuition (1998) and The Flame Within the Fire (2000). Another recently released recording with the last group Scott worked with in New York, the InSpirit Quartet, can also be ordered at www.scotthesse.org. The recording, entitled CONTRAST TO THE MADNESS, was produced by Todd Barkan in 2004. Scott can also be heard as a sideman on a host of other recordings.