A swingin’ memorial: FRANK FOSTER (1928 – 2011)

There has been written quite a lot about Frank Foster and his contributions to jazz as composer and arranger.

Rarely, or never has there been mentioned his only studio date as a member of the Thelonious Monk Quintet.

With the following playlist – which also contains two of his most famous compositions – I will bridge this gap.

Frank Foster had absolutely no problems with Monk’s melodies, harmonies & rhythms, and ran through his chorusses with bravura, while sharing solo credits with one of the almost forgotten trumpet men of the era, with Ray Copeland.

Listen to Curly Russell’s & Art Blakey’s congenial humorously jumpin’ rhythms, not to speak of the inspired solos by Monk.

/—> Frank Foster Memorial Playlist <—/

The featured tracks are:

#1: The original Shiny Stockings (1955), as played by Count Basie & His Orchestra on the famous April In Paris album, including the legendary trumpet solo by Thad Jones;

#2: We See
#3: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
#4: Locomotive
#5: Hackensack (Lady Be Good)

Ray Copeland (tp) Frank Foster (ts) Thelonious Monk (p) Curly Russell (b) Art Blakey (d) — Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, May 11, 1954 (all on MONK);

#6: Blues Backstage (1954), again with Count Basie (from Sixteen Men Swinging), featuring the composer himself, Frank Foster on tenorsax;

#7: Shiny Stockings, as arranged by Ernie Wilkins for the 1959-edition of the Harry James Orchestra, featuring the master trumpeter at his boppin’ best. (You will find this very track HERE);

I hope you will enjoy the wonderful music which shall enlighten your heart in these difficult times of change.

Swingingly yours truly,


/—> For further reading <—/

Here are three obituaries on Frank Foster you might be interested in:

@ Doug Ramsey’s Rifftides

@ Marc Myers’ JazzWax

Nate Chinen @ The Gig, and @ The New York Times

My other virtual self on YouTube says to the below video (when it was still up; now, there is another ballad, arranged by Mr. Foster):

This is great! A rare treat of a ballad by the Count Basie Orchestra.
Yeah! Jerry Lewis did a great stunt on “The Errand Boy” by pantomiming to the last part of “Blues In Hoss’ Flat” a.k.a. “Blues In Frankie’s Flat.”

Jerry Lewis & “Blues In Hoss’ Flat” which should be renamed to “Blues In Boss’ Flat” for that very occasion 😉 This is a scene from The Errand Boy (1961)

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