Ruthie Foster Big Band
Live At The Paramount
Blue Corn Music
The sensational Ruthie Foster has a total of twelve Blues Music Award nominations. She won her first BMA for Contemporary Blues Female Artist in 2010; but between 2011 and 2019 she won The Traditional Blues Female Artist Award a.k.a. The Koko Taylor Award seven times. She also is a three-time Grammy nominee.
On this new album Foster steps out of her comfort zone to sing with a big band. When she was in the Navy her commanding officer heard her sing at a Christmas party and she wound up singing in the Navy band. Foster states “Big-band, that’s a challenge, because you’ll never get as loud or powerful as the brass that’s standing right behind you. And that is all you hear while you’re standing in front of that much brass, so it’s about maneuvering and finding your way in-between what they’re doing, as well as singing the melody.”
So on the night of January 26th, 2019 Foster stepped onto the stage at Austin’s 105-year-old Paramount Theater and fronted a guitarist, keyboardist, bassist and drummer, and ten horn players; and the Ruthie Foster Big Band was born. After a brief introduction by her daughter Foster began singing utilizing her three-octave range, and those lucky enough to be there heard her in a way few have ever had. With arrangements by Miles Davis Alumni John Beasley, and the ensemble led by bandleader John Mills.
The set of thirteen songs includes eight songs Foster had written or co-written. Included were “Brand New Day” the title track off her 2014 album “Promise of a Brand New Day”, and “It Might Not Be Right” written with the legendary soul man William Bell. Also from that album is “Singin’ The Blues”. From her 2017 album is the title track “Joy Comes Back” a song from Nashville based songwriter Sean Staples. She also includes her “Stone Love” inspired by Marcia Ball.
The covers Include a re-arranged version of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”; the song “The Ghetto” a hit for The Staple Singers in 1968; Bart Howard’s “Fly Me To The Moon” with a Quincy Jones arrangement originally sung by Sinatra; and “Mack The Knife” where she simultaneously invokes memories of Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Bobby Darin.
Once again the sensational Foster catches us off-guard with this wonderful Big Band release. You have to hear this.