b. Ronnie Xavier Foster, 12th May 1950, Buffalo, New York, U.S.A.
Organist Ronnie Foster was frequently overlooked by jazz purists during the peak of his career in the first half of the '70's.
He was a talented mainstream funk and soul-jazz keyboardist who managed to cultivate a successful career as a sideman (working frequently with George Benson, in particular) and producer during the late '70's, '80's and '90's.
Furthermore, his '70's records for Blue Note became cult items among a new generation of listeners raised on acid-jazz.
After 1979, Ronnie performed numerous sessions within the mainstream and fusion arena's during the '80's and '90's.
Hailing from Buffalo, New York, Ronnie learned to play piano as a child, being taught in the traditional classical style.
Eventually, he attended a jam session where there was an organ in addition to a piano.
After playing the organ, he decided to concentrate on the instrument.
A local Buffalo organist, Joe Madision, gave him advice, and Ronnie practiced regularly at a studio where he would rent a room with an organ for 60 cents an hour.
Eventually, Ronnie began playing local and New York clubs.
He slowly built a following, playing with such musicians as Stanley Turrentine, Grant Green and George Benson.
By the early '70's, he had formed a group called Energy II.
Grant Green had Ronnie play on his 'Alive' album, and the organist's performance impressed the label's Dr. George Butler, who offered Ronnie a contract.
the two headed freap - 1972 / sweet revival - 1973 / ronnie foster live in montreux - 1973 / on the avenue - 1974
Ronnie recorded 'The Two Headed Freap', his first album for Blue Note, in January of 1972.
A funky set of soul-jazz, the album didn't receive much attention or critical praise, and neither did its follow-up, 'Sweet Revival', which was recorded in December of that year.
He cut 'Live at Montreux' in July of 1973, which was followed in 1974 by 'On the Avenue' and in 1975 by 'Cheshire Cat', his final album for Blue Note.
cheshire cat - 1975 / love satellite - 1978 / delight - 1978 / the racer - 1987
He then moved to Columbia, where he released 'Love Satellite' in 1978 and 'Delight' in 1979.
Two much more soul orientated outings.
A session for ProJazz, entitled 'The Racer', followed a few years later, but Ronnie effectively retired from leading groups in the early '80's in order to concentrate on session work.
Throughout the '80's, Ronnie continued to play on a wide variety of sessions and eventually moved into production.
Ronnie continued the same path in the '90's, playing with many of the same musicians, as well as Lee Ritenour, Roland Vazquez and The Temptations, among others.
His own records were rediscovered by a new generation of listeners in the '90's, as well, with several of his records used as source material for acid-jazz and hip-hop records.
Thank you to Ronnie Foster for his input into this page
The Two Headed Freap (Blue Note Records 1972)
Sweet Revival (Blue Note Records 1973)
Live at Montreux (Blue Note Records 1973)
On the Avenue (Blue Note Records 1974)
Cheshire Cat (Blue Note Records 1975)
Love Satellite (Columbia Records 1978)
Delight (Columbia Records 1979)
The Racer (Projazz Records 1986)