Among the most revered and versatile British session and touring bassists, Mo Foster’s talents as a composer, musician, educator, and author are equaled by his uncanny wit, hospitality, and sidesplitting sense of humor! You know Mo the bassist from his stellar work with a wide range of artists and ensembles including Affinity, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Luka Bloom, Howard Jones, Russ Ballard, Michael Schenker, Maggie Bell, Gerry Rafferty, Joan Armatrading, Kevin Ayres, Gary Moore, Scott Walker, and the London Symphony Orchestra, among scores of others. We first interviewed Mo in London in 2014.
And we caught up with Mo in November 2020 via Zoom to discuss his new live album, Mo Foster & Friends In Concert, which was released in March 2021.
From Mo’s official press release….
One of the industry’s most prestigious bass guitarists, and renowned producer, composer, author and session musician, Mo Foster, announces release of new album, with his new band, that’s set to become a must-have jazz classic
“A rare night of great music – lovely vibe, immaculate sound — the music connects very directly”. Malcolm Edmonstone – Professor at the Guildhall School of Music
‘What a great band Mo’ – Terry Rawlings, film editor: Blade-Runner, Alien
‘Beautiful textures and dynamics. Your playing puts the rest of us to shame as usual…’ Joel McIver – Editor, Bass Guitar Magazine
‘This session legend, and one-time Jeff Beck cohort, has thumbed his golden address book to assemble a sextet of undoubted virtuosity’ – Andy Rawll, Record Collector
‘Hearing this was a beautiful reminder of those heady wonderful days. Good feel, orchestration, ensemble sound — lovely….Wow!’ – Mike Gibbs (Composer)
Mo Foster – once managed by Ronnie Scott, Foster is the legendary bass-guitarist, who has recorded and toured over the past 50-years with many of the world’s biggest musical icons from Jeff Beck, Gerry Rafferty, Frida of ABBA, and George Martin, right through to Phil Collins, Gil Evans, Brian May and The London Symphony Orchestra. Now, this spectacular producer, composer, author and session player, steps into the limelight with his new band, as he releases his sixth album, ‘Mo Foster & Friends in Concert’, released on 21 March. A treat for jazz fans worldwide, it’s a stunning collection of precious pieces that Mo’s fallen in love with across his career. Hand-picked gems from the great jazz composers of the 50s, 60s & 70s, curated and interpreted by Mo Foster, in his own outstanding jazz way.
Mo Foster’s melodic spirit has been firmly woven within the rich, vibrant tapestry of our global music scene for over half a century, as his beguiling charm makes him an integral ‘first-choice’ musician for the world’s biggest stars. But, 2020 sees Mo stepping up as front man as, ‘Mo Foster & Friends in Concert’, takes us on a glorious musical journey for jazz connoisseurs and newcomers alike. A delicious, tempting spread of music that Mo simply needed us to experience again, through his own lush and powerful jazz interpretations.
Every track on the album comes with its own personal story of first-hand Foster-experiences. The quirky humour-ladened, ‘Chickens’ takes us back to 1969, when Mo was supporting the Gary Burton Quartet at Ronnie Scott’s. Smitten by the piece, Mo vowed to record the track himself one-day. Lockdown hit, so Mo recorded ‘Chickens’ with his musicians spread across four counties. Steve Swallow, who wrote the original track, thought it was the best version he’d ever heard, ‘Thanks a million…made my day’’ said Steve. The enthralling ‘Django’, a melody that has haunted Mo since the 60s, was written by John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet in homage to his longstanding friendship with Django Reinhardt. ‘Gone’ is Mo’s reinterpretation of the Gil Evans piece, which originally featured on the landmark Miles Davis/Gil Evans album Porgy And Bess. Mo became enchanted by this challenging work whilst playing with the Gil Evans British Orchestra in the 80s. ‘Three Views Of A Secret’ is a perfect composition – now a standard – by visionary bassist Jaco Pastorius. A longtime favourite.
The band, Mo Foster & Friends, comprises of a sparkling line-up including Jim Watson on keyboards, Nic France on drums, Ray Russell on guitar, Chris Biscoe on saxes, Corrina Silvester on percussion, and Mo on bass-guitar; in addition, fiddle-player Chris Haigh guests on a couple of tunes…and their formation was almost by chance. Mo had temporarily pulled a bunch of musicians together to play at ‘The Fetch’ album launch party for friend Linda Hoyle, (who’d been the vocalist in Affinity, Mo’s jazz/rock band many years before). But, two weeks before the event, Mo learnt that Linda was too ill to perform, leaving Mo with a dilemma, ‘I’ve always been a side man, playing for artists such as Jeff Beck and Phil Collins, suddenly, I’m the front man, staging an event, and I couldn’t fail. I needed to find a solution,’ explains Foster. Mo kicked into emergency over-drive, and following a mad writing session, he created a collection of tracks that didn’t need a vocalist. The Mo Foster sound was born – a definitive ground-breaking jazz vibe that made the music the star. A maverick decision from Foster to present the band with tracks they’d never seen until that night (no rehearsal) – and it was magnificent. A second live evening followed, and Mo knew these musicians were too good to let go; Mo Foster & Friends was born. Playing the music of the great jazz composers, the band has gone from strength to strength, culminating in a successful gig at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club at the end of last year.
Pulling out the glittering jazz-jewels from that evening, the seeds of his new album were born. Once Mo truly believed that he could be the front man, the outstanding new album ‘Mo Foster & Friends in Concert’ was conceived. The 16 track album features three tracks recorded from that first night, ‘Freedom Jazz Dance’, ‘So Far Away’ and ‘Three Views of A Secret’. Listen and indulge in the sheer excitement and energy of those live jazz journeys and become the ears of the audience of that very first night when magic was made. This is an album that’s set to become a firm ‘must-have’ across all respectable jazz collections for years to come.
‘Mo Foster & Friends – In Concert’ was released on Right Track/Universal March 2021
For more information: www.mofoster.com