Billy Foster

This is a new feature on Jazz on the Tube called Artist-Educators.

What we want to do is highlight the accomplished musicians who have done so much to keep jazz aliveĀ in recent decades by bringing world class music and music education into our schools, colleges, universities, and other public places.

I have to confess in the late 70s and early 80s, I was afraid the loss of jazz clubs, jazz radio, and the whole infrastructure for jazz performance was going to sound the death knell for new jazz players coming onto the scene. I even wrote a paper about it in 1981.

Little did I know that a small, but supremely dedicated army of men and women were going to keep the fires burning to help new generations of musicians find their way.

Our first featured artist-educator is Billy Foster.

 

“Gunsmoke” (Composer: Rex Koury)
Adaptation of an arrangement by Rusell Malone

Videos are from a concert held on October 8, 2009 at The Defiance College for the Defiance Community Cultural Council

Renee Miles-Foster – vocals
Bruce Evans – bass
Lannie Turner – drums
Billy Foster -piano

Billy Foster Bio

Billy Foster is a respected, pianist, composer, educator and producer. He has performed as a professional musician for the past 40 years and in addition to performing with others, has led his own groups for much of that time. Mr. Foster has written and produced recordings for both “Billy Foster and Audio” and the “Billy Foster Trio”. He is a featured soloist on two of guitarist Henry Johnson’s CD’s on MCA Records. His work as a pianist and composer with the Valparaiso University Faculty Jazz Trio can be heard on the CDs “For The Moment” and the 2010 release “Journey”. “Portrait” by the Billy Foster Trio & Friends features more of his work as a composer in addition to vocals by Renee Miles-Foster. Mr. Foster has also written and produced music for several television commercials.

As an educator, Billy Foster is retired from 35 years as public school music teacher in Gary, In. Mr. Foster served as jazz piano instructor at Valparaiso University from 1980 to 2014. In this capacity he conducted many jazz clinics, lectures and educational performances. In addition, he was a member of the Valparaiso University Faculty Jazz Trio. Currently, in addition to his private studio, he teaches piano at Indiana University Northwest in Gary, In. Mr. Foster served on the Indiana Arts Commission advisory panel for three years. Foster received a B.S. from Defiance College and an M.M. from Roosevelt University with additional study at New York University. Mr. Foster studied privately with famed jazz pianist Jaki Byard.

Over the years Billy Foster has played concerts with such luminaries as Art Farmer. Jimmy Heath, James Moody, Ernie Watts, Tom Harrell, Red Rodney, Clark Terry, George Coleman, Slide Hampton, Bobby Watson, The Impressions and many others. He is currently the host of the popular radio show the “Billy Foster Jazz Zone” on WGVE 88.7 FM in Gary, In. The show can also be heard at www.billyfosterjazzzone.com

 
“I Thought About You” – (Composer Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics by Johnny Mercer)
Personnel listed above.

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