Ronnie Foster makes return to Blue Note, preps first new album in 36 years

Starting a new chapter in his career, Ronnie Foster has rejoined Blue Note Records and has announced a new album slated for this summer.

It’s been half a century since the soul-jazz organist made his Blue Note debut with Two Headed Freap in 1972. Now, Foster has returned to his original record label and recently went to Capitol Studios in Los Angeles to record his first album in 36 years.

Originating in Buffalo, N.Y., Foster first caught the attention of Blue Note co-founder Francis Wolff after he heard Foster’s work as a sideman on Grant Green’s Alive!, released in 1970. Foster would go on to enter the vanguard of iconic Hammond B3 organ players, including Dr. Lonnie Smith, Larry Young and Jimmy Smith. His debut album was the start of a five-album run of funky soul-jazz records released by Blue Note throughout the 1970s.

“Blue Note has always stood for the art of jazz,” Foster said in a statement. “I grew up on Blue Note, listening to all the greats. It was ingrained early.”

Over the years, listeners around the world have heard Foster’s soulful playing one way or another. He has performed on Stevie Wonder’s pivotal album Songs in the 48 Keys of Life and George Benson’s bestselling album Breezin’, and A Tribe Called Quest sampled his playing on their song Electric Relaxation.

“Ronnie Foster’s body of work looms large in Blue Note’s jazz legacy and samples drawn from his recordings have been seminal in the shaping of hip-hop,” said Blue Note president Don Was. “He returns to the label 50 years later with more heart, soul and groove than ever. We’re thrilled to welcome him back.”

While readying the release of Foster’s new album, Blue Note will be reissuing Two Headed Freap on May 20 as part of its Classic Vinyl Reissue Series.


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