”Hess has an obvious affinity for a wide range of jazz-related idioms; he melds them into a cool, brainy, and utterly natural composite. On tenor, Hess has a mellow, Lester-ish tone and what seems to be an encyclopedic knowledge of the tenor giant’s style. Still, his melodic sense also draws from the best of the modern idioms. His articulation is smooth and light; harmonically, he’s not adverse to going “out,” though he never discards the changes of a tune for the sake of expedience.” - All Music Guide
Born in Abington, Pennsylvania, Hess grew up in New Jersey, attending Trenton State College, before moving to Colorado in 1981. He graduated with a doctorate in music composition from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1991. 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 the contributions of the great figures in jazz history, avant-garde classical sources, as well as Anthony Braxton and the members of the AACM. He is currently Director of Composition at The Metropolitan State College of Denver.