Frank Foster (1928-2011) - JazzWax

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July 28, 2011


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Chris Galuman

Did that independent movie made about Frank ever get released. I remember seeing the trailer for it. especially the part about him waiting for royalty checks to help his medical expenses.

don frese

Another great Frank Foster date is this one:

Red Sullivan

I must commend a great Ronnie Mathews record from about '78 as featuring the greatest Foster soloing on record I know.
It's called "Roots, Branches and Dances", on BeeHive Records. Foster is the only horn, with Ray Drummond and Al Foster. Added percussion is by Randy Weston's son. It's a very great record (Ronnie Mathews was very great!!).
Also Foster's writing on "Viva! Vaughan" on Mercury is outstanding. Another really great record (I love this period of Sarah, her transitional voice).
There's also a marvellous Foster record on Arkadia Jazz from the '90s, that had Wynton Marsalis on some tracks (but mostly quartet) that was especially strong.
(Does anyone know if the "Two Franks" band made more than the one record eventually issued on Pablo?).

Bill Kirchner

My favorite Frank Foster composition--even more than "Shiny Stockings," which was one of the first hip jazz tunes I ever heard--is "Simone," a beautiful minor-blues waltz.

I know that it was played in the '70s by Elvin Jones's groups, but I don't know if Elvin recorded it. Frank wrote an arrangement of it for five-saxophones-and-rhythm that was recorded in 2003 on "Jerry Dodgion and the Joy of Sax".

Frank also did an arrangement of "Simone" for his Loud Minority big band, but I don't know of a recording.

Bruno Leicht

When Thelonious Monk asked someone to record his music in a studio, that someone must certainly have been a top-notch player.

I wonder why no one has mentioned this outstanding recording date.

If you want to listen to this splendid Monk session from 1954, feel free to click on my name.

We See, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Locomotive & Hackensack are the featured tunes; Frank Foster, Ray Copeland, Curly Russell and Art Blakey are the most able men who perfectly fulfilled their leader's will to swing.

Frank Foster did a marvelous job, each of his solos is well conceived, and structured.

Monk has definitely never complained: "Where's the melody?"

Rab Hines

As I noted elsewhere, 82 years old, with a wife of 45 years - not the worst way to go out.

Thanks for everything, Mr. Foster.


I agree with Bill that "Simone" is one of Frank's loveliest tunes, and have heard a few nice versions but can't think exactly where at the moment. Elvin did record it on a Blue Note Album called "Coalition" with Frank, George Coleman, Wilbur Little, and Candido.


Some other good versions of "Simone" include the ones on Shelley Carrol's "A Distant Star" and Frank's own "Leo Rising."


I think Frank was the first American jazz
musician that I actually saw off the bandstand.

I was 17 and he (a good looking young man) was walking in the grounds
of Belle Vue,Manchester in 1957 just before a Basie concert there.

Thanks Frank for all the memories of great music you created

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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