Frank Foster

Well Water

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The music on Well Water sat unreleased for 30 years but was worth the wait. Frank Foster's Loud Minority Orchestra only made a few records during its decade or so of existence and Well Water is one of its best. Listeners expecting the music to be similar to that of Foster's former boss Count Basie should realize that Foster's playing by 1977 was more strongly influenced by John Coltrane than by Lester Young, and that his writing is much more modern than that usually heard in the Basie band or even in the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. The performances do swing in their own way and include dynamic solos by the altoist C.I. Williams, both Foster and Bill Saxton on tenors, trumpeter Charles Sullivan and pianist Mickey Tucker. With Elvin Jones (making one of his few appearances with a big band) driving the ensembles and inspiring the soloists, this is an exciting effort. The closing number, "Three Card Molly," is a Foster quintet feature in which the leader switched to soprano. Highly recommended.

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