Wednesday July 27, 2011
The inspiration and encouragement I have received throughout the years from the masterful Frank Foster is beyond words for me. To know him, playing and studying his music, sharing the stage with him on occasion, has sent me on my way on my horn and in the music. He was so full of love and encouragement I was always overwhelmed. Frank came up in the same generation as my dad and being from Detroit he had a lot of mutual musical colleagues in Cleveland, where I was from, that I eventually knew and studied with. People like, Weasel Parker, Willie “Face” Smith, Laurence “Jacktown” Jackson and Ace Carter in particular. I first got hip to Frank’s playing on some recordings with Elvin, Thad and Hank Jones… Later hearing him with the great Frank Wess with their quintet the Two Franks at the Vanguard, and his own big band, the Loud Minority in the 80s. The first charts of his that experienced playing were with the Woody Herman Thundering Herd in the late 70s. His writing for big band was simply a work of art in his own sound. His embrace of my Nonet’s emergence in the late 90s with Willie “Face” Smith’s orchestrations of some of Tadd Dameron’s compositions gave me even more of a foundation to continue music in this larger ensemble forum, for which I will forever be grateful. Losing Frank Foster and James Moody in this same period leaves me with a huge personal void but also will fuel my inspiration and growth as a saxophonist, composer and leader. To have had known them in my lifetime and had their support the way I did has been a blessing.
Sounds and Feelings,