A year ago I put together a band for a gig at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Dean Street. The sound I was aiming for was Gil Evans in Miniature: structured, with beautiful harmonies and melodies, and with room for great solos.
I chose the players simply because they were the best: Ray Russell, *Malcolm Edmonstone, Chris Biscoe, Nic France, and Corrina Silvester — some of the finest jazz soloists in the country.
I’m also fortunate to have been sent copies of original scores by major jazz composers such as Gil Evans, Mike Gibbs, and Django Bates. I’ve recently been in touch with Gil’s son Miles who is excited by this project.
Over the years I have worked with many of the finest musicians but it is only now that I feel able to bring together my dream team of players who each give back 200% of what is asked of them.
This project is important to me because I want to share and pass on the legacy and love of Gil's and other great composers' music to audiences and younger musicians so that it doesn't get lost once we retire.
Once we’re up and running I intend to record a few concerts, choose the best tracks, mix them, and make an album. Angel Air Records — with whom I have a 20-year relationship — are keen to release it. We also intend to film some new clips for YouTube.
Artist/illustrator/web-designer Wendy Hoile — who designed my website and the band logo — will design the cover-art
Ray and I (both Gil Evans band alumni) wrote a new piece influenced by Gil's love of intertwining melodies. The title — '14 W 55th Street’ is inspired by the address of Gil’s one-room apartment in NYC.
My favourite Gil quote: “Everybody who gave me a moment of beauty, significance, excitement has been a teacher”.
(*Because of his commitments to being Head of Jazz at Guildhall, Malcolm decided that it was best to leave the band. He has since been replaced by the highly respected pianist Jim Watson).
Mo Foster - Electric Basses
Ray Russell - Electric Guitar
Jim Watson - Keyboards
Nic France - Drums
Chris Biscoe - Reeds
Corrina Silvester - Percussion
Alan Boyd filmed the evening, and the sound-man Luc Saint-Martin recorded it on ProTools.
her latest album
A couple of years ago I composed and produced this album - The Fetch - for my old Affinity bandmate Linda Hoyle.
The CD was released on Angel Air Records.
Linda Hoyle had been the lead singer in my early 70s jazz-rock band Affinity.
In early 1971 the band split, and disillusioned by the music industry at the time Linda quit and started a new life as an academic in Canada.
In 2011 the University of Sussex at Falmer near Brighton (my alma mater) celebrated it's 50th birthday. I put a band together for a reunion concert
Linda — who just happened to be visiting friends four miles away in Lewes —joined us onstage that night and sang a couple of songs. It was this reunion that sparked her desire to perform again, and she and I began writing and recording.
It was a difficult project because Linda lives in Canada and I live in England, but we got there!
Legendary artist Roger Dean — an old friend of ours from Ronnie Scott days — designed the beautiful cover.
We had always fancied a vinyl release - especially because of Roger Dean's wonderful artwork
We were contacted by a Norwegian company - Pancromatic Records - who specialise in vinyl LPs.
To fill four sides of the vinyl Linda and I had to write and record a brand new song: ‘Who’s There?'.
The double LP is now available.
It looks great, sounds great, and even smells great.
Illustrated Talk by Mo
at Burgh House
I’ve just set up an illustrated ‘talk' - an evening of amusing and revealing anecdotes - in the wood-panelled music room of Burgh House, a lovely 300 year old Queen Anne property in Hampstead.
If you'd like to come along (and I hope you do) you can find out more — and also buy a ticket — by clicking here: eventbrite.co.uk
There will be a free glass of wine.
Seating is limited so you should book as early as possible.
19.00 - 20-30
Burgh House, Hampstead
I was recently invited to play at a special celebratory evening for bassist, singer, songwriter Jack Bruce, who died two years ago.
The event — held on Tuesday 25 October 2016 at London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire — was put together by Malcolm (Jack's son) and Pete Brown (Cream lyricist).
This show was a chronological musical journey through Jack's musical career, starting from the early years with the Alexis Korner and Graham Bond era, moving through the Cream era, and to his many solo records, with a nod to some of the other important collaborations during his lifetime.
All proceeds went to Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy and to a hospice in Suffolk.
The evening was amazing, with everyone pulling together to make it happen. There was such respect for Jack
THIS WAS THE LINE-UP
Clem Clempson, Chris Spedding, Malcolm Bruce, Ray Russell, Mick Taylor, Steve Hackett, Bernie Marsden, Alan Darby, Will Johns
Dennis Chambers, Gary Husband, Corky Laing, Ginger Baker*
Neil Murray, Guy Pratt, Jeff Berlin, Trevor Horn, Mo Foster
Pete Brown, Terry Reid, Paul Young, Lulu, Maggie Reilly, Eddie Reader, Maya Sage
David Sancious, Malcolm Bruce
Annie Whitehead, Henry Lowther, Art Theman, Jon Altman
PLUS a string quartet, and backing vocals.
Bob Harris and Chris Welch spoke
* Towards the end of the concert Ginger arrived and made a beautiful speech that was almost a love-letter to Jack.
And I got to play 'White Room' with Dennis Chambers!
My next illustrated talk will be held at
Abbey Road Studios
Abbey Road Institute
27th May 2016
Abbey Road Institute is a brand-new education initiative based at the famous studios. I have been invited to give a talk to this year’s class. I’m really looking forward to it.
Documentary by director
One More Time
Air Edel Studios
Recording: 6th June 2016
ONE MORE TIME is a feature documentary that tells the story of the UK session players of the 60's & 70's who helped forge the sound of the British Invasion and recorded the music of a generation.
‘From The Beatles to Bond and Ziggy to Zeppelin these are the tales told by the men who were there in London's busy studio scene’.
‘So far we've interviewed Clem Cattini, Ray Russell, Graham Preskett, Mo Foster, Dave Richmond, David Mindel, Alan Hawkshaw, Herbie Flowers, Martyn Ford, Ralph Salmins, Anthony Jackson, Maggie Rodford, Dougie Wright, Adrian Kerridge, Bob Henrit, David Hamilton-Smith, Vic Flick, Brian Bennett, and Simon Phillips’. ‘The film brings the players back into the studios to record as well as bringing together new interviews and some of the limited archive of the UK session players’.
In the 70s and 80s there was a vibrant studio scene in London. Musicians often worked for three sessions a day, every day. Unfortunately there are very few surviving photographs or films of these events.
In an attempt the redress this omission film-maker Alan Boyd recreated a studio session at Air Edel Studios for ONE MORE TIME, a feature documentary that tells the story of the UK session players. Alan is uniquely qualified to make this film as he is both a film-maker and a musician, and has a passion for both disciplines.
Featured players: Mo Foster (bass guitar), Ray Russell (guitar), Brian Bennet (drums), Mike Moran (piano), Madeline Bell (vocals), Clem Cattini (percussion), Bob Henrit (percussion), Greg Walsh(producer). The musicians were filmed rehearsing, playing, arguing, telling stories, joking — just as they would on a real recording session. This interplay between these old friends was captured perfectly'.