An excellent composer, bandleader and arranger, Frank Foster has been associated with the Count Basie orchestra since 1953, and was the second person in the post-Basie era to lead the band. Foster helped update the orchestra's sound when he joined, bringing a thorough knowledge and mastery of bop technique. His pungent, animated solos were swinging and tasteful, but also reflected what was then still a new sound and style to many Basie fans. HisRead more arrangements helped shift the band's focus and subtly alter, but not distort or pervert, its classic Kansas City foundation. Such songs as "Down For The Count," "Blues Backstage" and his most famous work "Shiny Stockings" are now as treasured as numbers from the '30s and '40s. Foster played clarinet and alto sax in his youth before switching to tenor. He played with Snooky Young in Detroit from 1949 until 1951, when he was drafted. After completing his tour of duty, Foster joined Basie's orchestra in 1953, and was a vital soloist and arranger until 1964. He did some sessions in New York, then joined Elvin Jones' band in the late '60s. He appeared on several interesting two and three horn albums with Jones, matching solos with such players as Joe Farrell, David Liebman and Steve Grossman. Foster also continued his big band duties, heading a large ensemble that was known in the early '70s as The Loud Minority. The band's size and personnel alternated, and Foster would occasionally add vocalists or use it to accompany theatrical and spoken word presentations. Foster became The Basie band's nominal leader in 1986, while continuing to compose and arrange for other groups. He's played with some small combos, and his work "Lake Placid Suite" was commisioned for the 1980 Winter Olympics. Current Basie releases continue to be issued periodically, plus Basie orchestra reissues featuring Foster and other dates he's recorded are being issued, including many with fellow tenor saxophonist and flutist Frank Wess. Read less
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