tagged w/ Thad Jones
Frank Foster, jazz saxophonist and composer, dies at 82
Frank Foster played with the Count Basie Orchestra and composed its hit "Shiny Stockings." (Los Angeles Times)
July 28, 2011
Jazz saxophonist and composer
Frank Foster, 82, a jazz saxophonist who played with the Count Basie Orchestra and composed the band's hit "Shiny Stockings," died Tuesday at his home in Chesapeake, Va., of complications from kidney failure, according to his wife, Cecilia.
Foster was recognized in 2002 by the National Endowment for the Arts as a Jazz Master, the nation's highest jazz honor. His many compositions and arrangements include material for Sarah Vaughan and Frank Sinatra, and a commissioned piece written for jazz orchestra for the 1980 Winter Olympics: "Lake Placid Suite."
Born in Cincinnati on Sept. 23, 1928, Foster "had an ear for music" from an early age, he said in an NEA interview in 2008. Jazz big bands caught his attention when he was 12. Foster's first instrument was clarinet, but at age 13 he took up the sax. He played in a dance band at Wilberforce University and went on to join Basie's band in 1953.
During his 11-year tenure with Basie, Foster not only played tenor saxophone and other woodwinds but also contributed numerous arrangements and compositions for the band, including the jazz standard "Shiny Stockings," Down for the Count" and "Back to the Apple."
Two years after Basie's death in 1984, Foster returned to assume leadership of the Count Basie Orchestra from Thad Jones. He led the band until 1995, winning two Grammy Awards during his tenure.
Foster also led his own big band, Frank Foster's Loud Minority, in addition to playing as a sideman in drummer Elvin Jones' combo and co-leading a quintet with a fellow Basie veteran, saxophonist-flutist Frank Wess.
Foster also served as a musical consultant in the New York City public schools and taught at Queens College and the State University of New York at Buffalo.
In the NEA interview, Foster said: "I had always had as much fun writing as playing.... But when you play something, if you mess up, you can't make it right. But you can write something, and if it's not right, you can change it. And I always had as much pleasure writing as playing because the thrill of hearing your music played back to you is almost indescribable."
.Frank Foster, jazz saxophonist and composer, dies at 82
Frank Foster played... more