Unfair Park has the news — and some fine clips to convey what Hess brought to music, to Deep Ellum in the ’80s, when Cafe Noir (left) popped up like a happy surprise with its wonderfully rich, ethnic-flavored, bohemian jazz, sort of the Gipsy Kings with some twang. In addition to everything Robert Wilonsky has to say, I’ll add this: Before Cafe Noir broke up and Hess headed to Cirque du Soleil, back when the late Ken Bryant was assistant director and then artistic director at the Dallas Theater Center, Hess and Noir had a regular home there, too, fitting in perfectly with Nikolai Gogol’s The Inspector General but also such seemingly unlikely projects as A Christmas Carol. They were part of the Deep Ellum theater crowd as well. In fact, the last video Wilonsky posted features what’s clearly Matt Posey (then of the Deep Ellum Theatre Garage, now the Ochre House) doing his best goofball tango. Quite the find.
Hess, 56, died of cancer two days ago. A memorial service is being planned.