By Culturekiosque Staff
NEW YORK, 27 JULY 2011 NEA Jazz Master and Grammy award wining
saxophonist and composer Frank Foster died yesterday morning at his home
in Chesapeake, Virginia at the age of 82.
Best known for his work in the Count Basie Orchestra (and as the
composer of the Count Basie hit, "Shiny Stockings"), the Cincinnati,
Ohio-born (1928) and raised saxophone player was an extremely
successful composer. He created a large body of work for jazz, including
works contributed to albums by singers Sarah Vaughan and Frank Sinatra,
and a commissioned work for the 1980 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid
Suite, written for jazz orchestra. In the 1970s, Foster played with
contemporary musicians such as Elvin Jones, George Coleman, and Joe
Farrell and began expanding his compositions. He led his own band, the
Loud Minority, until 1986 when he assumed leadership of the Count Basie
Orchestra from Thad Jones. In addition to performing, Foster has 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.
Foster is the recipient of two Grammy Awards.
Although a stroke in 2001 prevented him from playing the saxophone,
Foster continued to compose. In a January 2008 interview with the NEA,
Foster said, "I had always had as much fun writing as playing. Writing and
playing, they're both strongly creative, right? 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."
For more information on Frank Foster, including an in-depth interview,
visit the NEAs
Visit the Smithsonian
Jazz Oral History Program website to listen to Frank Fosters oral