All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Frank Foster

Frank Foster

Frank Foster is an NEA Jazz Master

Born September 23, 1928 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Frank Benjamin Foster III began his long musical career at age eleven, when he took up the clarinet. Two years later he began playing alto saxophone, advancing technically to the point of performing with local dance bands at age 14. He began to compose and arrange at 15, and led his own 12- piece band while still only a senior in high school. Foster attended Wilberforce University, then left for Detroit in 1949 (with trumpeter Snooky Young) where he played with such local musicians as Wardell Gray.

Upon finishing his military service in 1953, Foster joined Count Basie's big band (replacing Eddie Lockjaw Davis) on the recommendation of Ernie Wilkins. In addition to his full throated tenor playing, Foster contributed original material to the band including the standard, “Shiny Stockings,” and other popular songs including “Down For The Count,” “Blues Backstage,” “Back to the Apple,” “Discommotion,” and “Blues In Hoss Flat” as well as arrangements for the entire Easin’ It album.

“I wrote `Shiny Stockings' in 1955,” Foster told Bob Bernotas. “We had a rehearsal at a place called Pep's Bar in Philadelphia. We had just arrived in town. Everybody was sleepy, tired, hungry, and evil. Nobody felt like rehearsing. We rehearsed `Shiny Stockings' and it sounded like a bunch of jumbled notes, just noise, and I said, `Wow, all the work I put into this, and it sounds so horrible. I know Basie will never play it.' And then something very strange happened. He continued to play and it came together. Finally, we recorded it and, well, it's the very best known piece that I have contributed to the Basie book.”

Read more

Tags

Multiple Reviews
Album Review
Read more articles

Photos

Albums

Manhattan Fever

Original Jazz Classics
2007

buy

Well Water

Piadrum Records
2007

buy

We Do It Diff'rent

Mapleshade Recordings
2003

buy

Soul Outing

Fantasy Jazz
1998

buy

Electric Byrd

Blue Note Records
1996

buy

A Fresh Taste Of The...

Original Jazz Classics
1996

buy

Similar

Shop Amazon

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.