In Frank’s words, “This is something quite different…I’m not trying to revolutionize the big band, I’m just telling it the way I hear it with thirteen horns and a rhythm section.” After leading the Basie band for a decade, in ’95 Foster put down the baton to form his band—the Loud Minority. Pierre jumped at the chance to record their week residency at NY’s Jazz Standard. The band was on a roll, playing high-energy, devil-may-care jazz. The crowd loved their blazing brass, their stomping solos, the powerful baritone vocals, the peerless Foster arrangements. Pierre's mikes captured the electric excitement of Jon Faddis’ trumpet solos, Basie-singer Dennis Rowland’s rabble-rousing “Wild Women Don’t Worry”, and Sylvia Cuenca’s thunderous drum solo on “Lover”.
1. G’on An’ Git It Y’all (F.Foster) -Listen to Full Song
2. Stella By Starlight (N.Washington/V.Young)
3. Wild Women Don’t Worry (I.Cox)
4. Fos’ Alarm (F.Foster)
5. Lover (L.Hart/R.Rodgers)
6. Shiny Stockings (F.Foster) -Listen to Sample
7. Where Or When (L.Hart/R.Rodgers) -Listen to Sample
8. Cecilia Is Love (F.Foster)
9. You Go To My Head (J.F.Coots/H.Gillespie)
10. Skull-Doug-Ery (F.Foster)
Sometimes you just want a big band that'll knock your socks off. That's when you look for Frank Foster and the Loud Minority. Their 2002 date at the Jazz Standard in New York City was recorded by Pierre Sprey, and it's been released as We Do It Diff'rent (Mapleshade). The repertoire is a mix of standards and originals, all but one arranged by Foster. They get things started with a gospel-tinged shouter titled "G'on An' Git It Y'all" loosely based on "Down By the Riverside" and featuring solos from pianist Danny Mixon and trombonist Clark Gayton. One of the up-and-comers, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, takes "Stella by Starlight" for a ride but then gives way to a breathtaking orchestrated saxophone section solo, complete with a quote from "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze." Daring indeed. Vocalist Dennis Rowland steps to the spotlight with his shuffle-based arrangement of the Ida Cox classic "Wild Women Don't Have the Blues" (here titled "Wild Women Don't Worry") complete with stratospheric trumpet work from Jon Faddis. Both Rowland and Faddis get the crowd shouting and responding to their calls. Foster's arrangement of "Lover" includes an introductory interpolation from the bebop classic "Shaw Nuff," and Sylvia Cuenca's ambidextrous drum work on this tune elicits whoops from the band. It's hard to believe this was her first gig with the group-there's so much feeling and spirit in these performances. -Larry Appelbaum
Frank Foster’s Loud Minority Big Band is more limber than loud -- although it doesn’t shrink from shouting whenever that’s appropriate on this persuasive in-concert album recorded in June ‘02 at NYC’s Jazz Standard, when the seventy-three-year-old Foster was recovering from a stroke that immobilized his left arm and left leg and limited his role to that of emcee.
As one would expect from an old hand who joined the Count Basie Orchestra half a century ago and fronted the band for nine years (1986-95), Foster salutes the Count’s buoyant spirit in almost every way save repeating well-traveled numbers from the Basie book (with one exception, his classic “Shiny Stockings,” handsomely renovated for the occasion). Foster’s other originals (“G’on an’ Git It Y’all,” “Fos’ Alarm,” “Cecilia Is Love,” “Skull-Doug-Ery”) were written especially for the seven-year-old Loud Minority ensemble. Completing the program are four standards (“Stella by Starlight,” “Lover,” “You Go to My Head,” “Where or When”) and one blues, “Wild Women Don’t Worry,” the last three featuring the seductive baritone of special guest and ex-Basie vocalist Dennis Rowland.
Foster’s other guest, trumpeter Jon Faddis, shakes the rafters on “Wild Women” and “Cecilia,” and trumpeters Jeremy Pelt and Cecil Bridgewater glisten and glow on “Stella” and “Stockings,” respectively. Baritone saxophonist James Stewart is showcased on “Fos’ Alarm,” tenor Bill Saxton and drummer Sylvia Cuenca (a last-minute replacement whose forceful timekeeping earned her a permanent gig with band) on “Lover,” tenor Keith Loftis on “Skull-Doug-Ery,” while pianist Daniel Mixon has a number of engaging ideas to impart on “G’on an’ Git It,” “Cecilia,” “Skull-Doug-Ery” and (uncredited) “Shiny Stockings.” There are some other minor errors on the playlist, with trombonist Clark Gaton listed as trumpet soloist on “G’on an’ Git It,” trumpeter Derrick Gardner as trombonist on “You Go to My Head,” Rowland as vocalist (he’s not) on “Shiny Stockings.”
Echoing Basie’s philosophy, Foster writes that “you can’t keep a band of brilliant players together and burning without challenging them with a constant stream of fresh new music.” Let’s hope that Foster keeps challenging the Loud Minority for years to come. -Jack Bowers
axist, arranger and leader Foster led the Count Basie Band for a decade and organized the Loud Minority seven years ago. His big band swing arrangements for the new group are just a excellent as his charts for Basie but this aggregation has its own special sound that isn’t just emulating the Basie sound. A lot of effort and courage went into makeing this CD. Foster - in his seventies - was recovering from a stroke and this was his first live appearance since it occurred. Mapleshade’s Pierre Sprey had to haul and set up a lot of gear to record the band live with a similar audio fidelity to the hundred or so sessions he has recorded in his own home studio. Vocalist Dennis Rowland is a standout, and the drummer was a petite woman called in at the last minute when the band’s regular drummer was out of town. It all jelled and the result is one of the most enjoyable big band recordings I’ve heard in some time. -John Henry