Herman Foster

The Explosive Piano of Herman Foster

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"Explosive" seems like an excessive word to use about the piano playing of Herman Foster. As heard on his second album, Foster has an agreeable locked-hands technique that produces rolling cadences which propel his performances forward. It's a method heard to good effect here on "Like Someone in Love," which begins very slowly, with individual notes and small clusters doled out, building to a pattern of doubled chords as his hands work together. He can also tone things down for an expressive ballad style, as on his original "Carol." Foster, accustomed to being a sideman, fills the time on these songs with a variety of approaches, sometimes within the same tune, as if he was still just adding color to someone else's lead work. And yet he is the leader; drummer Grassella Oliphant and bassist Earl May are here strictly for support. The pianist doesn't always develop his ideas or bring them together at the end, but he comes up with numerous interesting variations, which always makes his playing stimulating to hear.

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