Foster, Frank (jazz) (Benjamin, III )
- Scott DeVeaux
- , revised by Barry Kernfeld
(Benjamin, III )
(b Cincinnati, Sept 23, 1928; d Chesapeake, VA, July 26, 2011). American tenor saxophonist, arranger, and composer. He played clarinet and alto saxophone as a youth, but changed to the tenor instrument in 1947, partly, he said, because he needed to develop a musical personality independent of Charlie Parker’s influence. As a music major at Wilberforce University he was a soloist in and principal arranger for the Wilberforce Collegians jazz band, which performed at Carnegie Hall in 1947. From 1949 until he was drafted in spring 1951 he played in Detroit with Snooky Young, worked at the Bluebird Inn with Wardell Gray and Milt Jackson, and performed with Kenny Burrell, Tommy Flanagan, and Barry Harris, among others. During army service he was the central figure in what was later spoken of as a legendary event: the soldier, absent without leave, with a battered silver horn who sat in with Dexter Gordon at Bop City in San Francisco and surprised everyone, Gordon included, with his devastating skill as a bop soloist on ...