Gary Foster

Norman Gary Foster (born May 25, 1936) is an American musician who plays saxophone, clarinet, and flute. He is considered a crossover artist, performing jazz, pop, and classical music. He has been prominent in the film, television, and music industries for five decades, having performed on over 500 movie scores and with over 200 orchestras.

He has recorded on numerous Grammy, Academy Award, Emmy, and Golden Globe winning media and soundtracks for artists and composers such as Carol Burnett, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Mel Torme, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Frank Sinatra, Pat Williams, John Williams, Natalie Cole, Jerry Fielding, Cal Tjader, Marty Paich, and Michael Bublé.

Foster received the Most Valuable Player Award for woodwind doubling from The Recording Academy.

Gary Foster was born in Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1936. He started on the clarinet at age thirteen. His first musical inspiration was Olin Parker, a school music director and teacher who introduced him to the music of Count Basie, Woody Herman, and many other types of music. He listened closely to the Woody Herman Orchestra’s recording of “Four Brothers”, which featured saxophonists Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, and Serge Chaloff. For Foster, Getz stood out on the tenor saxophone because of his tone. Foster also acknowledged the influence of Lester Young and Charlie Parker.

Jazz critic Zan Stewart compared Foster’s style to that of Lee Konitz, Paul Desmond, and Art Pepper (West Coast Jazz style). The music of Lennie Tristano and the concepts taught to him by Warne Marsh have been of great inspiration and influence over the years.

Share this post

Leave a Comment