b. Paul Alexander Foster, 10 May 1953, Oakland, California, USA. A strikingly gifted alto saxophonist and clarinettist, Foster first attracted attention in 1973. He became a founder member of Jack DeJohnette’s Directions, then worked with McCoy Tyner, Nat Adderley and Freddie Hubbard. In the mid-70s he entered the New York studios, playing on countless pop and jingle sessions and he was also in the band for the Broadway show Ain’t Misbehavin’. He continued playing jazz, appearing on record sessions with Don Sebesky and then, in 1982, joined Jaco Pastorius for a big band tour. With Pastorius he made three world tours, appearing on two live albums with the big band, Live In Japan and Live In New York, and three studio sessions with a small group. In the mid-80s he joined the house band on television’s Saturday Night Live. He continued to make studio sessions, including playing in bands supporting pop artists such as Paul Simon (playing on Graceland), and Paul McCartney. In the early 90s he recorded an album under his own name and also toured with the Gil Evans Orchestra, Mingus Dynasty, Steps Ahead with Mike Mainieri, and in mid-decade was again with the Saturday Night Live band as featured soloist. An exhilarating player with a fiery sound, Foster’s inventive playing marks him out as a musician to watch whenever he steps outside the relative anonymity of other people’s bands.