This week we feature drummer Jon Foster, who participated in our Jazzology program in 2012.
After having earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University in 2012 and a Masters in Music Performance from the University of Toronto in 2014, Jon has begun an active career on the Canadian music scene as a performing and recording artist.
Jon has performed with a broad range of artists including the Jessica Stuart Few, Shaky Knees, Brooklyn Doran, Re:Verse, Dan McKinnon, Climax Jazz Band, Max River, Liam Stanley Trio, Jesse Futerman, and Katie DuTemple. He also works as a music accompanist for dance at York University, a position he has held since 2011.
Foster has toured internationally, having just completed tours with the Jessica Stuart Few in Germany and with Danish guitarist Anna Roemer in Denmark. This year Jon will be touring China, the United Sates, and Australia with the Jessica Stuart Few and Climax Jazz Band.
Regarding career plans, Jon hopes to continue developing his experience as a performer and session musician while also spending some time focusing on composition for film as well has his own original jazz project, the Jon Foster Group.
Jon took some time to share his memories of the Jazzology program and outline his more recent musical activities:
1) Describe your experience with the Jazzology program. What was your favourite aspect?
It was exciting for me to be involved with the Jazzology program because it provided me with my first opportunity for publicity that was anything more than a poster in a foyer. My favourite aspect was hearing Brad Barker announce the title of my song, ‘Pirouette,’ and listing the players on the recording.
2) What is your strongest memory of the Jazzology program? Are there any funny stories or incidents that come to mind?
When I arrived for my interview, someone at the station kindly gave me a cup of coffee in a signature JAZZ.FM91 mug. After the interview I was so thrilled with how it went that I waltzed out of the station, mug in hand. It wasn’t until I was driving away that I realized I still had it, at which point it was too late to go back!
3) Would you recommend this experience to other young musicians?
I would highly recommend this experience to other young musicians. It is a great way to get your music on the radio and to learn about publicity. It also gives you a chance to really consider what musicians influence you and to share their music with your audience.
4) How has this experience helped in your personal and professional development?
Jazzology further advanced my professional development by providing me with an opportunity to experience radio programming first hand. In addition, it required me to record an original tune, something I had not done before then.
5) This program is made possible by our generous donors and sponsors who strongly believe in the importance of arts education initiatives. If you had the opportunity to thank them in person, what would you say?
Thank you for giving me a chance to put myself out there and be proud of choosing to pursue a music career. I am honoured to be an alumnus of the Jazzology program alongside a roster of musicians I hold in high regard.
6) Why is music education important?
Music education is essential for building knowledge and practical skills that are demanded of professional musicians. In addition, students get a chance to network and make connections with their teachers and peers, whom they will work with for the rest of their careers.
7) Since participating in the program, what have you been doing?
Since participating in Jazzology I have completed my undergraduate degree at York University and a masters degree in music performance at the University of Toronto. During that time I have recorded several EPs and full-length albums as a sideman. At the moment I am just about to come home from a European tour in Germany with The Jessica Stuart Few and in Denmark with a Danish jazz quartet lead by Anna Roemer. Next week I will be flying out again to go on a tour of China with The Jessica Stuart Few.
8) What music are you listening to at the moment that you find particularly inspiring?
Recently, I revisited some Chris Potter records including Gratitude and Traveling Mercies as well as Wynton Marsalis’ Standard Time: Vol.1. Some other artists I have been listening to are Flying Lotus, SBTRKT, James Blake, Kimbra and any record I can get my hands on that has Philly Joe Jones on it. As diverse as these artists may be, I find their music inspiring because it feels like it was created with 100% integrity, a characteristic I aim to achieve.
9) What are your plans for the future?
Between now and April I will be performing locally as well as touring in China, the USA, and Australia. The interim will be filled with some recording sessions. Long term I hope to continue touring and recording, and to produce a record of my own. I have also been involved with writing music for film, an endeavor I plan to further explore.
10) How can people learn more about you and your activities?
11) Is there anything else that you want to add?
If you are still reading at this point I am impressed with your attention span. You can trust that I will continue to follow my heart as a musician and I hope that you follow yours in whatever pursuit of happiness you may have. Good luck and thanks for reading!
Jazzology is proudly sponsored by RBC Emerging Artists Project.
About RBC and the Arts
RBC sponsors a wide-range of grassroots and local initiatives that contribute to the cultural fabric of our communities. Proud to support events and passions that resonate with our clients and all Canadians, RBC provides opportunities for up-and-coming artists through programs such as the RBC Canadian Painting Competition, one of the largest competitions of its kind in the world; and the RBC Emerging Filmmakers Competition, part of our commitment as the Official Bank and major sponsor of the world’s top public film festival – the Toronto International Film Festival®.