Jeff Beck – Plus Nobody In Japan (1999)

JeffBackFrontCover1.jpgThis is a great performance by one of the best players ever, if not the best depending on your taste. Jeff has the aid of Jennifer Batten on this show and they perform some of the songs from their sudio albums. If you are a fan of the albums Who Else! and You had it Coming then you will like this CD. This is a sound that is unique to Jeff and an example of a very good performance by him and the band. I saw this tour and it is still one of my favorite shows. Jeff takes 90 % of the solos and Jennifer provides 90% of the backing guitar, keyboard sounds and effects. There is a lot of sound coming from two guitars, a bass and a drum. In fact I kept looking for the keyboard player on the stage, until I realized there wasn’t one. It was Jennifer playing her guitar through the effects she had. You may or may not dig every song played because there is such a huge variety of sounds coming from Jeff’s guitar. But there is enough material on the two discs to justify the price of admission. A Day In the Life is so over the top that it remains one of my favorite concert experiences. But I like it all so I am very pleased with this two CD set. (by Chris)

It’s Jeff- It’s Live and it is very very good. I have a few live outings from Mr Beck and they are all good and all slightly different showing that he just doesn’t go through the motions JeffBeck02when he performs live. This is a very solid and the bass is heavy and driving. Good (but probably not audiophile) recording – if you are a Jeff beck fan you need this in your collection. And if you are a Jeff Beck fan you will know that out of the Great English Guitar Triumvirate (Beck, Page & Clapton) he is the best, the most innovative and the most under rated by the music world. (Ducman)

It sounds better and more acoustically even than a soundboard recorded bootleg I’ve got. The set list is less than an hour and a half, but this CD set is worth twice the price. As I recall, the concert got progressively louder and louder until it became quite painful, but the mastering of these CDs takes care of that. What an enjoyable show to hear again and again. Beck sounds amazing as you might guess, and Jennifer Batten sits prominantly in the mix. She’s a gifted player–but this is Jeff’s show. (David Porter)

A splendid album, all the way around. The audio clarity highlights the astonishing midi playing of Jennifer Batten and her interplay with beck amazes me. There is no keyboard person: the keyboard and synthesizer is Batten. Which gets me to a gripe: I have read reviews saying that Batten plays inaudible guitar. This is simply wrong and evidence of a lack of information that is preposterous in people writing reviews for publication.
Beck is, as always, a joy, delight, inspiration, and unique. (Philosophical Lizard)

I add the official tour programm from this tour through Japan.

Recorded live at the Club Kanagawa Kennin, Kaikan, Japan, May 25, 1999
 excellent soundboard quality

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Personnel:
Steve Alexander (drums)
Jennifer Batten (guitar)
Jeff Beck (guitar)
Randy Hope-Taylor (bass)

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Tracklist
01. What Mama Said (Beck/Batten/Hymas) 3.55
02. Psycho Sam (Hymas) 4.50
03. Brush With The Blues (Beck/Hymas) 6.42
04. Star Cycle (Hammer) 3.52
05. Savoy (Beck/Bozzio/Hymas) 4.17
06. Blast From The East (Hymas) 4.40
07. A Day In The Life (Lennon/McCartney) 5.09
08. Declan (Lunny) 4.02
09. THX 138 (Hymas) 6.23
10. The Pump (Phillips/Hymas) 5.47
11. Led Boots (XXX) 9.18
12. Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers (Wonders) 4.39
13. Angels (Hymas) 6.34
14. Even Odds (Hammer) 2.44
15. You Never Know (Hammer) 6.15
16. Blue Wind (Hammer) 7.23
17. Where Were You (Beck/Bozzio/Hymas) 3.19
18. Big Block (Beck/Bozzio/Hymas) 7.55

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Passport – Running In Real Time (1985)

FrontCover1.jpgIt’s quite impressive knowing Passport as they were very productive in generating albums and this “Running in Real Time” was their 14th studio album since their first inception in 1971. Many have considered this Germany-based band in comparison with its American counterpart Weather Report eventhough the music is not quite the same. This release is quite surprise to me as it features two kind of music: the original root of Passport with its jazz-rock fusion style with many saxophone work and those with vocals where the music tend to be R&B instead of jazz.

The opening track “At Large” demonstrates the original root of Passport in jazz-rock fusion style featuring sax solo combined nicely with guitar work laid over jazzy rhythm section. The next track “Auyrin” is a slow speed jazzy tunes with sax as main melody backed with solid basslines. There is also nice guitar solo right after sax. These two opening tracks resembles the original style of Passport music. “Talisman” is explorative in nature, demonstrating bamboo flute played by the band leader Klaus Doldinger cmbined nicely with vocals as well as excellent percussion by the band’s long serving drummer: Curt Cress. Starting with “Help Me” Passport made an effort to do differently, introducing vocal by Victoria Miles. The music has the kind of R&B style. But of course it’s not a typical R&B you can hear easily at radio station. It’s in fact quite enjoyable.

Overall, I consider this album is a good one especially for those who love jazz-rock fusion but don’t get surprises if you find some kind of R&B music as the vocal enters. Keep on proggin’ ..! (by Gatot)

Klaus Doldinger

Personnel:
Curt Cress (drums, percussion)
Klaus Doldinger (saxophone, bamboo flute, keyboards)
Victoria Miles (vocals)
Kevin Mulligan (guitar)
Dieter Petereit (bass)
Hermann Weindorf (keyboards)
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Bill Lang (guitar 0n 01., 03. – 06.)
Claus Reichstaller (trumpet on 08.)
Franz Weyerer (trumpet on 08.)
Roykey Wydh (guitar on 07. + 08.)

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Tracklist:
01. At Large 4.48
02. Auryn 5.37
03. Talisman 7.32
04. Help Me 4.14
05. Joy Riding 6.40
06. Slap Shot 5.47
07. Mr. Mystery 4.16
08. Running In Real Time 3.43

Music composed by Klaus Doldinger

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More Passport:

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Lighthouse – Can You Feel It (1973)

FrontCover1.jpgOne of Canada’s most original pop groups ever, Lighthouse was formed in Toronto early in 1969 when drummer Skip Prokop (ex of The Paupers, Janis Joplin, Al Kooper and Carlos Santana) had a vision of incorporating horns and strings with modern rock, sort of a heavy-hitting ‘big band’ sound. After a chance meeting in New York with Paul Hoffert – who was actually trained in more classical stylings and already an established sessions-player. Ralph Cole joined soon after. Originally a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Cole knew Prokop when he was in Thyme, who had actually performed on many bills with The Paupers during the latter half of the decade. They added mul

The ‘full orchestra sound’ which would become the band’s trademark was at first rounded out by an additional 10 members including singer Pinky Dauvin. Their sound was as diverse as their listening audience, and contained cellos, violas, an array of horns and a full percussion section. The band was doing their first gig outdoors by May of that year and were signed to a deal with RCA shortly thereafter. They went to Toronto’s Eastern Sound Studios in the spring of ’69 and released their self-titled debut that same year. Produced by Prokop and Hoffert, it was met with critics’ praises, following the success of such tracks as “Mountain Man” and the cover of the Byrds’ “Eight Miles High”.

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“Can You Feel It”? came out in ’73, recorded in New York’s Record Plant. The upbeat pop-smash “Pretty Lady”, along with the title track and “Set The Stage” fetched the band more gold. But despite following their proven forumula, they were finding themselves in the middle of a changing musical environment. (canadianbands.com)

If you love groups like the early Chicaog or Blood, Sweat & Tears …than you should listen to Lighthouse, too.

Lighthouse was one of the best Jazz/Brass-Rock bands in the early Seventies !

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Personnel:
Dick Armin (cello)
Ralph Cole (guitar, vocals)
Dale Hillary (saxophone, vocals)
John Naslen (trumpet)
Don DiNovo (viola)
Skip Prokop (drums, percussion, guitar, vocals)
Larry Smith piano, vocals)
Rick Stepton (trombone)
Alan Wilmot (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Set The Stage (Cole) 4.47
02. Same Train (Prokop) 5.58
03. Magic’s In The Dancing (Cole) 4.09
04. Pretty Lady (Prokop) 4.01
05. Disagreeable Man (Prokop) 5.28
06. Can You Feel It (Prokop) 4.39
07. Is Love The Answer (Cole) 3.15
08. Lonely Hours (Prokop) 6.36
09. No More Searching (Hillary) 4.05
10. Bright Side (Cole) 4.26

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Still alive and well (here their website from 2019):

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Ronald Harry “Skip” Prokop (December 13, 1943 – August 30, 2017)

Brian Auger´s Oblivion Express – Live At Winterland (1975)

FrontCover1.jpgBrian Auger has always demonstrated a rare devotion and dedication toward developing new musical forms. Equally comfortable with pop, R&B, and jazz, Auger was a founding member of the group, Steampacket, which helped launch the careers of singers Long John Baldry, Julie Driscoll, and Rod Stewart. Partnering with Julie Driscoll, Auger formed the Trinity, which recorded some of the most intriguing albums of the late 1960s, achieving international recognition for their cover of Dylan’s “This Wheel’s On Fire” in 1968. Straddling jazz, rhythm & blues, folk, gospel and pop in equal measure, the Trinity albums refused to be categorized. Auger’s intention was to overlay soulful pop rhythms with jazz harmonies and solos and his late-1960s recordings exemplify this unique approach. Following the demise of the Trinity, he formed Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express at the dawn of the 1970s, another genre-defying group that would gain him much wider recognition, eventually entering the jazz, pop and R&B charts simultaneously. The Oblivion Express created high energy, jazz-inspired music, with Auger’s high energy Hammond organ style, in the tradition of Jimmy Smith, dominating the proceedings.

This performance, recorded at San Francisco’s Winterland, when Auger’s Oblivion Express opened for Fleetwood Mac, captures the band during a particularly interesting time and with its quintessential lineup. The band’s album Reinforcements had just been released and their stage repertoire here includes two fresh new band originals from that album, as well as three of the most impressive jazz-inflected covers from their earlier releases.

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Following Auger’s high-spirited introduction of the band members, they launch headfirst into the leadoff track from the new album with “Brain Damage.” A collaboration written by vocalist/guitarist Alex Ligertwood (who would soon be recruited as lead vocalist for Santana) and lead guitarist Jack Mills, this is an explosive opening number that explores a diverse range of influences resulting in a progressive jazz/rock fusion sound. Auger’s high energy Hammond organ style, in the tradition of Jimmy Smith, is exemplary, and the musicians maintain a tight, cohesive blend on the extended improvisations held togethre by percussionists David Dowle (who would later go on to record four early albums with Whitesnake) and Lennox Laington.

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Venturing back to material from the Second Wind album, they next deliver a tight rather economical performance of Eddie Harris’ “Freedom Jazz Dance,” before again stretching out on Wes Montgomery’s classic, “Bumpin’ On Sunset.” Here, the group establishes a relaxed, but nonetheless infectious groove, featuring Auger’s superb, yet never over-bearing technical abilities and the entire band reaching inspired heights. Like the best jazz bands, the Oblivion Express plays with deep feeling and a cohesiveness that is a rarity among rock bands of the mid-1970s.

They next return to the Reinforcements material for a crack at Clive Chaman’s “Foolish Girl.” A recruit from the Jeff Beck Group, Chaman is an outstanding and creative bass player and this composition ventures into the funk territory that would be explored by groups like the Average White Band and countless others as the decade progressed.

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The set concludes with a foot-stomping, full blown funky jazz blowout on a cover of Les McCann’s “Compared To What.” The original version of the song is a powerful example of black pop and soul that wasn’t afraid to address political issues; in this case the Vietnam War, and it is no less powerful in the hands of the Oblivion Express. Although lyrically the song is clearly dated to the late-1960s, Auger’s bluesy Hammond organ licks have a timeless appeal and he and the group’s offbeat humor are apparent throughout.

All through this performance, Auger’s technique is jaw-dropping and the amount of energy he and the group generates is unparalleled and relentless. The broad-minded musical attitude and skill of these musicians is never less than impressive and they manage to bridge the gap between rock and jazz-fusion in a way that remains inviting, accessible, and musically compelling. (wolfgangs.com)

Recorded live at the Winterland (San Francisco, CA), Nov 29, 1975
Excellent soundboard recording

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Personnel:
Brian Auger (organ, vocals)
Clive Chaman (bass)
David Dowle (drums)
Lennox Laington (percussion)
Alex Ligertwood (vocals, guitar, percussion)
Jack Mills (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Introduction / Brain Damage (Ligertwood/Mills) 15.56
02. Freedom Jazz Dance  (Harris) 5.59
03. Bumpin’ On Sunset (Montgomery) 14.45
04. Foolish Girl (haman) 8.26
05. Compared To What (McDaniels) 12.28

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Michal Urbaniak – Constellation In Concert (Polish Jazz Vol.36) (1973)

FrontCover1This is the second album on the legendary Polish Jazz series by the Polish saxophonist / violinist / composer / bandleader Michal Urbaniak. A veteran Polish Jazz musician, Urbaniak was a member of the legendary ensembles led by Krzysztof Komeda, where he played the saxophone, but by the early 1970 he switched to the violin and plunged into Jazz-Rock Fusion, rapidly becoming one of the most inventive and creative pioneers of the genre. This album and the albums recorded in Germany and later in the USA are absolute Fusion milestones, but also stand out as completely unique in their approach to the genre. Urbaniak combined the marvelous abilities of his wife Urszula Dudziak and her extraordinary and experimental vocalese technique with his common usage of Polish Folklore motifs, creating a superb and completely unparalleled Fusion music. This live recording captures his baseless / double keyboard ensemble, which also includes organist Wojciech Karolak, pianist Adam Makowicz and drummer Czeslaw Bartkowski.

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The music, all composed by Urbaniak, is simply out of this world, brilliant and fresh, absolutely resistant to the tides of time and fashion. In retrospect one can only regret that Fusion followed mostly the direction of flashy virtuosic display of neck-breaking guitar races rather than the direction proposed by Urbaniak’s Fusion, but it’s unfortunately too late now. At least we can savor this music, 40 years after it was recorded, well aged and beautifully eternal. A must! (by Adam Baruch)

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Personnel:
Czesław Bartkowski (drums)
Urszula Dudziak (vocals, percussion)
Wojciech Karolak (organ)
Adam Makowicz (piano, bass)
Michał Urbaniak (violin)

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Tracklist:
01. Bengal 17.40
02. Spokój 3.32
03. Lato 7.59
04. Seresta 9.40
05. Theme 3.05

Music composed by Michał Urbaniak

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Mahavishnu Orchestra – Birds Of Fire (1973)

FrontCover1.jpgBirds of Fire is the second studio album by American jazz fusion band the Mahavishnu Orchestra. It was released on January 3, 1973 by Columbia Records and is the last studio album released by the original band line-up before it dissolved.

As with the group’s previous album, The Inner Mounting Flame, Birds of Fire consists solely of compositions by John McLaughlin. These include the track “Miles Beyond (Miles Davis)”, which McLaughlin dedicated to his friend and former bandleader.

In addition to the standard 2-channel stereo album there was also a 4-channel quadraphonic version released during the 1970s. This appeared on LP in the SQ matrix format.

A remastered version of the album was released on CD in 2000 by Sony Music Entertainment. It features a new set of liner notes by JazzTimes critic Bill Milkowski, as well as photographs of the band. In 2015 the album was re-issued on Super Audio CD by Audio Fidelity containing both the stereo and quad mixes.

The back cover of the album features the poem “Revelation” by Sri Chinmoy. (by wikipedia)

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Emboldened by the popularity of Inner Mounting Flame among rock audiences, the first Mahavishnu Orchestra set out to further define and refine its blistering jazz-rock direction in its second — and, no thanks to internal feuding, last — studio album. Although it has much of the screaming rock energy and sometimes exaggerated competitive frenzy of its predecessor, Birds of Fire is audibly more varied in texture, even more tightly organized, and thankfully more musical in content. A remarkable example of precisely choreographed, high-speed solo trading — with John McLaughlin, Jerry Goodman, and Jan Hammer all of one mind, supported by Billy Cobham’s machine-gun drumming and Rick Laird’s dancing bass — can be heard on the aptly named “One Word,” and the title track is a defining moment of the group’s nearly atonal fury.

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The band also takes time out for a brief bit of spaced-out electronic burbling and static called “Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love.” Yet the most enticing pieces of music on the record are the gorgeous, almost pastoral opening and closing sections to “Open Country Joy,” a relaxed, jocular bit of communal jamming that they ought to have pursued further. This album actually became a major crossover hit, rising to number 15 on the pop album charts, and it remains the key item in the first Mahavishnu Orchestra’s slim discography. (by Richard S. Ginell)

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Personnel:
Billy Cobham (drums, percussion)
Jerry Goodman (violin)
Jan Hammer (keyboards, synthesizer)
Rick Laird (bass)
John McLaughlin (guitar)

BackCover1.jpgTracklist:
01. Birds Of Fire 5.49
02. Miles Beyond (dedicated to Miles Davis) 4.45
03. Celestial Terrestrial Commuters 2.55
04. Sapphire Bullets Of Pure Love 0.24
05. Thousand Island Park 3.23
06. Hope 1.56
07. One Word 9.55
08. Sanctuary 5.04
09. Open Country Joy 3.55
10. Resolution 2.10

Music composed by John McLaughlin

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And here´s a very intersting album … with music from The Mahavishnu Orchestra … arranged for a string quartet … the Radio String Quartett from Austria (click on the pic):

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Mo Foster – Bass Response (1983)

FrontCover1.jpgMo Foster is a British session bassist. He is also a music producer and songwriter/composer. Foster has played on and produced countless albums, singles and film soundtracks. He is a published author and occasionally teaches at music seminars all over the UK.

Foster’s first attempt as a musician in public was in primary school playing the recorder and violin. In secondary school he changed to a “much cooler” instrument and became the bass player (using a Dallas Tuxedo bass) in his school band, The Tradewinds.

Foster cites his interest in bass guitar as coming from hearing Duane Eddy’s song “Rebel Rouser” for the first time. “A school friend played the 78 on his parents’ big radiogram and it just filled the room with this powerful sound. It was one of those rare moments when your soul is touched and I realised that the deep sound behind Eddy’s guitar came from something called a bass guitar, though I didn’t see one until I watched Jet Harris on TV. So I bought an acoustic guitar for £2 and figured that I’d get that bass sound if I just tuned the strings down an octave, but of course it just made a pointless, fapping noise.”

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Foster studied physics and mathematics at the University of Sussex in the mid-1960s. During his student days he played both drums and bass in a wide variety of bands including the US Jazz Trio and The Baskervilles. Once he left university, a short spell as a laboratory research assistant convinced him that a career in music was preferable to a career as a scientist. During mid-1968 Foster, along with friends Lynton Naiff, Mike Jopp, Grant Serpell and Linda Hoyle, formed the progressive jazz/rock group Affinity, which was managed by the late Ronnie Scott. At the time they released one eponymously named album, though in the last few years archived tapes were discovered which enabled a further four Affinity related albums to be released.

After Affinity played their last gig in 1970 Foster decided that rather than being an over-educated but unemployed musician he needed to join another band. He placed a classified ad in Melody Maker magazine stating “Bass Guitarist: ex-name group, wishes to join established Family/Colosseum/Traffic type group”. He expected no response, but a music producer called Christos Demetriou (i.e. Chris Demetriou) unexpectedly called and offered him a job with ex-Manfred Mann singer Mike d’Abo’s band.

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After touring with the band both in the US and in the UK, Foster’s name started to get around. In 1971 he was hired to do a studio session for a Russ Ballard song, “Can’t Let You Go” at Lansdowne Studios. “I knew nothing and turned up with a flask and sandwiches because I didn’t know how long I’d be there for. There was Clem Cattini on drums, Ray Cooper on percussion, Mike Moran on keyboards, Ray Fenwick on guitar, all fine players and nice guys who thought my naiveté was amusing! That was the beginning of a word of mouth situation which gradually mushroomed.”[3] The European disco scene was growing and session work was increasing and Foster was hired to play on a lot of the popular hits of the time including Jimmy Helms’ “Gonna Make You an Offer You Can’t Refuse” and Cerrone’s hit “Supernature”.

In his early days as a session player Foster, having been self-taught, could not read music and freely admits that he bluffed his way through a lot of sessions. Finally at a session at Abbey Road Studios, playing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, it got so difficult to follow the music by listening to the drummer and guitarist that he vowed to teach himself. This he then did.

As a session musician Foster claims he has played on over 350 recordings …

MoFoster06.jpgDuring his time as a session player, Foster was asked to work on many film soundtrack sessions, too.

In 1975 Foster pioneered the teaching of bass guitar in Britain by founding the first-ever course at Goldsmiths College, University of London. As of mid-2007, along with guitarist Ray Russell and drummer Ralph Salmins, Foster is embarking on several music seminars at different educational establishments around the UK, the most recent (September 2007) being held at Leeds Metropolitan University. The trio have also been invited to give a similar seminar at the famous Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts music school which was started by Sir Paul McCartney. He has also contributed several articles to bass playing specialist magazines.

One of Foster’s most memorable bass lines was in the theme tune to the late-70s UK TV show “Minder” starring Dennis Waterman. The tune, “I Can Be So Good For You” started out life as a track on Waterman’s solo album, it was then re-jigged as the show’s theme tune. He achieved the atypical bass sound by using an unusual bass slap technique on an aluminium Kramer 650B bass guitar.

Foster has cited several well known bassists as being the inspirations to both his playing and his compositions, including Carol Kaye, Jet Harris, Jack Bruce and Stanley Clarke.

In the mid to late 80s Foster was the ‘M‘ in the jazz/rock trio called RMS with fellow session musos, Ray Russell and Simon Phillips. They released (originally on Peter Van Hooke’s then at the time fledgling MMC record label) an album called Centennial Park which was remastered and re-released in 2002 on the Angel Air record label. This in turn prompted the release of a live album from 1982 that had never been heard publicly before RMS: Live at the Venue, 1982.

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As a result of the success of these two CD releases, a DVD (which featured guests appearances by Gil Evans and Mark Isham) was released a year later. RMS: Live At The Montreux Jazz Festival, 1983. Both the CDs and DVD were produced by Foster and Ray Russell.

In the mid-1980s, Foster joined up with comedy writer/actor Mike Walling to form the core of the imaginary, but tragic RJ Wagsmith Band. Together they wrote a chart topping song for Roger Kitter (aka “The Brat”). They also penned what became one of the few one-hit wonders that never actually made it into the charts. “The Papadum Song” was about two losers who go into an Indian restaurant for a meal after a football match. The song got quite considerable airplay and Walling and Foster appeared together on the BBC children’s programmes Blue Peter and Granada TV’s Get It Together. Unfortunately there was an industrial dispute at Phonogram Records and no records actually got to the shops.

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At the latter end of the 1980s Foster decided that he would like the freedom to perform, produce and record his own music rather than that of someone else. He was able to call on some of his many friends who happened to be some of the UK’s foremost session musicians to help him. Since 1987 he has released five solo albums.

Apart from his five solo albums Foster has produced – or co-produced – albums for Deborah Bonham (The Old Hyde), Dr John (Such A Night), Maggie Bell (Live at the Rainbow), Affinity (Live Instrumentals 1969, 1971–72, Origins 1965–67, and Origins Baskervilles 1965), Survivors (Survivors), Maria Muldaur (Live in London), Adrian Legg (Fretmelt), RMS (Centennial Park, Live at the Venue 1982), RMS with Gil Evans (Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival 1983 DVD), The RJ Wagsmith Band (Make Tea Not War).

In addition Foster has composed and produced hundreds of titles for the major Production Music Libraries, co-wrote with Ray Russell the instrumental “So Far Away” for Gary Moore, co-wrote with Mike Walling the comedy hit single “Chalk Dust” for The Brat, co-wrote with Kim Goody the song “Sentimental Again” which reached the final in the Song for Europe Contest in 1990, and co-wrote with Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh, and Kim Goody the main song “In My Car” from Ringo’s album Old Wave.

In 1997 Foster authored a semi-autobiographical and anecdotal book about the birth and rise of Rock guitar in the UK during the period 1955 – 1975.

MoFoster03.jpgThe book’s title is Seventeen Watts?, the title having arisen from the school band member’s quandary of “do we really need that much power?” when a 17W Watkins Dominator Amplifier was acquired as a replacement for the ‘aging’ 5W amp they had previously been using. The US edition of the book was entitled Play Like Elvis and had a different foreword, this time written by Duane Eddy.

The first half of the book covers the emergence of a new breed of the rock guitarist. It features many anecdotes describing the efforts of now prominent guitarists to not only learn chords but to work out how to build their own guitar because they could not afford the ones in the music shop window. There are stories and quotes from guitarists such as Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore, Joe Brown, Clem Cattini, Eric Clapton, Lonnie Donegan, Vic Flick, Herbie Flowers, Roger Glover, George Harrison, Mark Knopfler, Hank Marvin, Brian May, Gary Moore, Joe Moretti, Pino Palladino, Rick Parfitt, John Paul Jones, Francis Rossi, Gerry Rafferty, Mike Rutherford, Big Jim Sullivan, Andy Summers, Richard Thompson, Bert Weedon, Bruce Welch, and Muff Winwood.

The second half of Seventeen Watts? is devoted to the rise and eventual demise of the London studio session scene. Foster seeks to present an insider’s view of this creative world, and to convey a sense of the absurdist flavour of musicians’ humour.

Most recently Foster has worked as an archivist/interviewer on the recent UK Channel 4 series Live From Abbey Road, which involved interviewing musicians and bands who were performing live sets at EMI’s world-famous Abbey Road Studios.

MoFoster10Foster now concentrates on producing albums for others, composing music, session work, played with Brian May and Brian Bennett on a 12-hour session at Abbey Road Studios for a re-make of Cliff Richard’s 1958 hit “Move It”), writing, researching and remastering his back catalogue (not only for his solo projects but also for other artists).

Foster has also resumed playing concerts with his band RMS, featuring Ray Russell, and Gary Husband – notably with Gary Moore at a recent charity concert Vibes From The Vines.

In April 2012, he performed at the Jet Harris Heritage Foundation tribute lunch with The Shadowers and Daniel Martin on Nivram and Diamonds

Although Foster has an interest in science it does not extend to the technology used in his instrumentation. He was once asked by a magazine journalist what type of pick-ups he used, he replied “Errr black ones?”

Over the years Foster has collected several different types of bass guitar including a custom-built Moon MBC fretless 5-string, an Overwater Progress 5-string and an Alembic Omega (since stolen). Invariably though, he uses his two main basses, his Fender Precision and particularly his Fender Jazz which he considers to be his “voice”.

The Fender Jazz bass guitar started out life as a standard 4-string bass, but in 1976, after being inspired by Jaco Pastorius’ fretless playing, he commissioned a symphony bass repairman by the name of Neville Whitehead to replace the standard neck with a fretless version. The replacement neck was a planed-down real ebony neck removed from a 100-year-old upright bass. For six months Foster struggled with the pure black neck as there were no indicators for finger positioning.

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Eventually giving up the fight, he employed luthier Dick Knight to mark fretlines on the neck. After going to this trouble he was surprised to learn that Pastorius achieved the same thing by merely pulling off the frets and filling the resulting holes with epoxy resin. Since the early 80s the bass guitar has undergone several component replacements including the bridge and the pick-ups.

Foster eschews complex amplifiers with equalisers and a multiplicity of functions, preferring ones that simply “have an on-off switch and a little light”. Despite this, on one occasion whilst touring with Jeff Beck, with Simon Phillips on drums. Phillips’ drums were amplified to such an extent that Foster could no longer hear his bass, so he was forced into having a system made up from two BGW power amps and a speaker rig consisting of Altec, Gauss and JBL drivers. It was so powerful it was called the “trouser lifter” as a person’s trousers flapped when passing it.

Bass Collection
Mo Foster´s bass collection

Foster has stated that his interests in the physical sciences have remained with him throughout his non-scientific career and he stays informed on scientific innovation by reading New Scientist magazine. He enjoys wordplay-based, non-PC and scatological humour, and enjoys radio shows such as “I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue” and “The Goon Show” on BBC Radio 4, as well as the comic Viz, particularly the “Roger’s Profanisaurus” section.

He is married to Ricky and they have one son, Luca. Luca is following in Mo’s entertainment footsteps and recently appeared (alongside Mo) in a Radio Northampton adaptation of The Gruffalo. On 14 October 2014, Foster was presented with a BASCA Gold Badge Award  in recognition of his unique contribution to music. (by wikipedia)

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And here´s one of his countless libary albums, dedicated to the wonderful sound of the bass guitar Mo Foster in his own words:

In the 70s and 80s I began getting calls to play on recording sessions for a form of music which at first I didn’t understand: library music. The composers would be players I already knew from regular sessions, musicians such as Alan Hawkshaw, Alan Parker, and Ray Russell. It was a friendly set-up and the producers encouraged me to write.

Library music (also known as production music) is the name given to recorded music that can be licensed to customers for use in film, television, radio and other media. It’s ready to wear music.

The logic behind it was that — for a reasonable fee — you could use the music on a production with the rights already ‘cleared’ worldwide. And as the composer gave their consent for any use of the music, it was always a surprise to see where a composition would later appear. A famous example of this was a piece — written by the late Stanley Meyers — that was eventually used as the theme in the famous film The Deer Hunter.
The various television and advertising agencies required the music to be recorded in specific lengths but in the days before the ease and sophistication of ProTools most edits were performed directly on the tape with a razor blade. The engineer needed to have a steady hand.

Often the composer would make life easier for everyone by writing each piece in readily useable lengths such as 59” and 29”

My first commission in 1983 was for Weinberger, now known as JW Media Music. The album — in vinyl format only — was called Bass Response.
Lansdowne studio was hired and I was able to bring in the best musicians: 
The music was performed live with no overdubs.

There was no sequencing in those days so I was required to write out full charts for each of the various pieces from which individual parts were then copied for each of the musicians. They had to be good readers.

Since that day I have composed and recorded a wide range of library music.

Mo Foster is one of my favorite bass players and if you listen to this album … you would know why …

In other words: He´s a master of the bass !

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Personnel:
Harold Fisher (drums)
Mo Foster (bass)
Tony Hymas (piano)
Mark Isham (synthesiser)
Frank Ricotti (percussion)
Ray Russell (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Skywalker 1.55
02. Stateside I 2.32
03. Stateside II 2.33
04. Stateside (Underscore) 2.15
05. Fender Bender 2.05
06. Cloudscape 2.49
07. Times Square 2.41
08. Velvet Bass 2.0
09. Inspiration I 2.10
10. Inspiration II 2.15
11. Moody And Blue 2.05
12. Night Prowler I 1.35
13. Night Prowler II 2.07
14. Sad Goodbye 3.11

All songs were written by Mo Foster, except “Skywalker” which was written by Mo Foster & Ray Russell

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Mo Foster first bass and amplifier (1960)

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More Mo Foster will come !!!