Released on Mainstream, Frank Foster’s “The Loud Minority” – here reissued as part of our Funk & Jazz Classics series – has long been a collectors’ item, an early 70s gem featuring a stellar line-up of musicians. The album was rediscovered by the acid jazz scene in the early 90s for its hip credentials and then sampled by Japanese group the United Future Orchestra. Today it is considered a prime slice of spiritual jazz.
Ohio-born Foster is not the first person you would expect to make such an album. He made his name as saxophonist, arranger and composer with the Count Basie Orchestra throughout the 50s. Among his many additions to the Orchestra’s songbook was ‘Shiny Stocking’ which became a jazz standard. In 1964 he left Basie to strike out on his own, recording albums for Prestige and Blue Note and involving himself in the thriving New York scene. He became a part of Elvin Jones’ group, appearing on several of his recordings. It was the New York scene that inspired him to put together the Loud Minority band, mixing exciting young talent such as Dee Dee and Cecil Bridgewater, Omar Clay and Stanley Clarke with the more established Harold Mabern and Jones. The music took in modern rhythms, vintage-style horn arrangements and an awareness of current politics in its titles. The result was these four wonderful tracks that are always a pleasure to hear.
By Dean Rudland