University of Pittsburgh
March 27, 2000



Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH, March 28 -- Frank Foster, internationally-recognized tenor saxophonist and former director of the Count Basie Orchestra, will be the special guest at the annual University of Pittsburgh Jazz Ensemble Spring Concert on Thursday, April 20, at 8 p.m., in the Assembly Room of the William Pitt Union, 3959 Fifth Avenue, Oakland. Tickets are $8 for the general public, and $4 for senior citizens and Pitt students. This is Foster's first appearance at Pitt.

Other guest performers include James Johnson, piano; Greg Humphries, drums; and Mike Taylor, bass. The Ensemble is under the direction of Nathan Davis, head of Pitt Jazz Studies.

Foster was a member of the Count Basie Orchestra from 1953 to 1964 and contributed extensively to the band's repertoire through many original compositions. He worked with and arranged for Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughn, Billy Eckstine, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, and many others. In addition to his own groups, he has toured with Clark Terry, Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra.

In 1986, after a 22-year absence, Foster was invited back to assume the leadership of the Basie Orchestra, in time to celebrate its 50th anniversary. During the next nine years, Foster won two Grammy Awards for his arrangements - "Deedles Blues" on the Diane Schuur/Count Basie Orchestra album and George Benson's composition "Basie's Bag." Foster resigned from the orchestra in 1995, but is busier than ever, having completed an all-star quartet CD for the Arabesque Jazz label, performing with his quartet, The

Non-Electric Company, and leading his 19-piece big band, Frank Foster and the Loud Minority. He also has launched an 11-piece dance band, Swing Plus.

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