A very talented tenor saxophonist and arranger, Frank Foster has been associated with the Count Basie Orchestra off and on since 1953. Early on, he played in Detroit with the many talented local players and, after a period in the Army (1951-1953), he joined Basie's big band. Well-featured on tenor during his Basie years (1953-1964), Foster also contributed plenty of arrangements and such originals as "Down for the Count," "Blues Backstage," and the standard "Shiny Stockings." In the latter half of the 1960s, Foster was a freelance writer. In addition to playing with Elvin Jones (1970-1972) and occasionally with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, he led his Loud Minority big band. In 1983, Foster co-led a quintet with Frank Wess and he toured Europe with Jimmy Smith in 1985. Although influenced by John Coltrane in his playing, Foster was able to modify his style when he took over the Count Basie ghost band in 1986, revitalizing it and staying at the helm until 1995.
- by Scott Yanow
All Music Group