Photo by Lars Björn

At the end of a great evening: Rick Roe, 
Marion Hayden, Frank Foster and Pete Siers

Frank Foster Graces Kerrytown


I was privileged to be present at both sets of Frank Foster's concert at Kerrytown Concert House on September 11. Foster was in great spirit and this was immediately transmitted to his fellow musicians and the audience.  It was an evening with great artistry and warmth.

It was obvious from the start of "All the Things You Are" that Foster was paired with a very congenial rhythm section. Rick Roe on piano, Marion Hayden on bass and Pete Siers on drums sounded good at first and by the time they played "Blues Walk" at the end of the second show they were on fire. The trio was perfectly comfortable with the medium relaxed grooves Foster often wanted and also did fine on more up-tempo numbers like "Manhattan Fever" or "Cherokee." As Foster was trying to pick his closing number, he asked the group: "Dare I say Cherokee?" He did not regret doing it judging by the exciting duel with Pete Siers towards the end of Charlie Barnet's classic. In the second set, the band gave a wonderful version of Foster's classic "Shiny Stockings," in which Pete Siers' big band experience at the Bird of Paradise came in handy during the shout chorus.

Foster's full-bodied sound carried beautifully at the Concert House without the use of amplification.  On his Ellington medley Foster stayed very close to the melody and seemed to emphasize the tonal qualities of his horn.  It was a treat to hear this master improvise on this and other standards and several of his own songs. I hope that he can come back to Ann Arbor next year. For those who missed him; he will appear at Orchestra Hall in Detroit with the Billy Taylor trio on November 12.