Frank Foster/Bill English Quintet: Left Bank Jazz Society, 1966


As you may have noticed the “unidentified” Big band at the Village Vanguard in 1980 turned out to be Frank Foster’s Orchestra. Unfortunately I do not find any audio documentation from this concert in Otto’s archives. But here is a real nice track with Foster (see picture on the right) that I discovered while looking for Foster’s music from the Village Vanguard. It’s an excerpt from a radio show, presenting 27 minutes of the Frank Foster/Bill English Quintet at the Madison Club in Baltimore on October 16, 1966, playing for the Left Bank Jazz Society . Besides Foster and drummer English, the band contained trumpeter Dave Burns, pianist Bross Townsend and bassist Chris White.

This tape probably was given to my friend Otto by pianist Bross Townsend, whom Otto got to know sometime in the late seventies. Townsend (1933–2003) was a fixture on the New York scene from the sixties to the nineties, freelancing most of the time. For a while he worked as the pianist with singer Dakota Staton.  Townsend  and Otto became friends and Townsend copied different tapes of bands in which he was involved for Otto. You’ll probably read more about Townsend on this blog at a later date.

So here’s the Frank Foster/Bill English Quintet at the Madison Club for the Left Bank Jazz Society in Baltimore on October 16, 1966. They are playing an ultra-fast rendition of “Autumn Leaves” (or is it?). Especially remarkable is how much Foster at that time was under the influence of a certain other tenor saxophone player. But who was not?

P.S.: Ellery Eskelin has uploaded a Chronologial Listing of Concerts sponsored by the Left Bank Jazz Society: Very interesting!

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