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'Broadcast One' - Dandelion Radio's 1st compilation album

For June we have 30 hours of new shows - including an exclusive session

Artist Info

Greg Foat

Greg Foat
Image from Discogs
Powered by Audioscrobbler™London-based keyboardist, composer, bandleader, and DJ, Greg Foat is a musician completely of his time and somehow beyond it. His highly original "non-contemporary jazz" utilizes conventional instruments and an exotic array of unorthodox ones, including harpsichord, tubular bells, and a 15-piece choir. Foat's music relies heavily on inspirations from library and soundtrack music, global folk traditions, psychedelia, hymnody, ambient music, and '60s and '70s pop, soul, blues, and more. Whether solo, as co-leader of Hampshire & Foat (with Bees' multi-instrumentalist Warren Hampshire), or leading the Greg Foat Group, he has been quietly and purposefully dissolving artificial boundaries between musical genres and eras since GFG's debut, Dark Is the Sun, in 2011. He's also been prolific, releasing an album a year, including the universally acclaimed 2015 outing Dancers at the Edge of Time and 2017's Galaxies Like Grains of Sand (with Hampshire), as well as a slew of singles and EPs. As a composer he's heavily influenced by the lineage of British jazz pianists and composers including Gordon Beck, Stan Tracey, Michael Garrick, Keith Tippett, and Graham Collier, in addition to European and American composers, arrangers, and soloists including Ennio Morricone, Piero Piccioni, Michel Legrand, Vangelis, and John Klemmer.

Foat was born in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight. He claims his life-long love/hate relationship with the piano began at age three when he fell off a piano stool at his aunt's house. At ten, he asked his parents for one. On the cheap upright his father procured, he taught himself to play Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" and received a few lessons from a proper piano teacher, who taught him a simple blues. He used that lesson to learn method, then taught himself to improvise and write; soon after, he quit taking lessons. A feverish record collector from age 11, he learned from recordings. A few years later, Jeff Clyne and Trevor Tomkins came to his school and gave a jazz workshop, after which he joined the Isle of Wight County Youth Jazz Orchestra. Clyne sent him cassettes of various jazz pianists. In a jazz encyclopedia, he learned that Clyne had recorded an album with pianist Gordon Beck called Experiments with Pops. He wrote Clyne asking him about it and was sent a tape with the albums Experiments with Pops and Gyroscope on it. Under the spell of Beck's formidable playing, he wore the tape out and absorbed its secrets. Foat cites the pianist as his biggest influence. He was bold enough to ask for Beck's telephone number and eventually took a few lessons from him.

Other primary influences on Foat were musicians who resided on the Isle of Wight, home to a vibrant music scene and a healthy number of retired session and jazz players who worked on the cruise ships that passed through from the '60s to the '80s. Their catholic repertoire consisted of music they learned, then played all over the world. Foat sat in with these players, learned from them, and developed his own aesthetic vision. Given his by-now-expansive repertoire, Foat became a session player and touring sideman, which included recording sessions with QuestLove and a tour of Europe and Scandinavia with Wendy James. In addition to his musical career, Foat is also a writer. He published a regular column in a woman's magazine in the U.K., and in 2008 published a spoof novel entitled Gigolo, ghostwritten and edited by a female friend. Supposedly penned from personal experience, Foat made publicity tours in his novel's character, causing considerable controversy. The book was eventually translated and published in seven languages.

Anna Själv TredjeIn 2010, he played on Swedish-Finnish composer Anna Järvinen's third album, Anna Själv Tredje, issued by Stranded/Universal. By this time, the Greg Foat Group was in full swing; they released their debut long-player, Dark Is the Sun, on Jazzman in 2011 to critical acclaim. Utilizing a host of unusual arrangements and instruments -- including a small vocal chorus -- Foat's tunes reflected the influence of luminaries such as Bruno Nicolai, Michel Legrand, and Serge Gainsbourg, as well as the British jazz and library musicians Keith Mansfield and Alan Hawkshaw. That same year, he played piano on Jonathan Jeremiah's Island release, A Solitary Man, in the company of the J.B.'s Fred Wesley, Pee Wee Ellis, and acid jazz trumpet legend Graeme Flowers. The following year, GFG released Girl and Robot with Flowers, that featured acclaimed trumpeter Matthew Halsall in the line-up. The set, a wildly diverse collection of styles, inspired remixes. In January of 2014, Live at the Playboy Club, London was recorded in concert direct to analog tape; it captured the band in full flight running through Foat's rangy compositions. In 2015, he and his band got international attention with the full-length Dancers at the Edge of Time; classified by some critics as "psychedelic modal jazz," it was inspired by the title of a collection of stories and novels by polymath author Michael Moorcock (Foat is a big fan of new wave science fiction). The set featured a much larger ensemble of 15 players. From then on, the Greg Foat Group was an octet rather than a quintet. The sessions included Warren "Woz" Hampshire on guitar, church organ, and glockenspiel. To date, it is the group's most acclaimed outing. 2016 saw the issue of a pair of 10" EPs, Cityscapes and Landscapes, which were eventually combined as a single release. It was the band's final effort before Hampshire & Foat began their own recording project with Galaxies Like Grains of Sand on Edinburgh's Athens of the North label. It was titled after Brian Aldiss' classic collection of connected sci-fi short stories. In addition to the two principals, members of the Greg Foat Group were in the line-up with additional strings and winds, with liner notes by American folk and pop singer/songwriter Bob Lind. Two more full-lengths from Hampshire & Foat appeared in 2018. The first, Honey Bear, was a "concept album based on a fictional children's book." Each track acted as a chapter, with hypnotic folk pieces mixed in with ambient field recordings that the pair collected around the beaches, cliffs, and gardens of the island. The latter, Nightshade, was adorned with a cover designed to look like a '60s sound library album, and was structured like one. Side one comprised tracks that could quite easily be used as film cues, while the second was formatted as a sound library suite with a recurrent theme and variations on its motifs.

In 2019, the pair issued their fourth album, Saint Lawrence. It was captured over two sunny afternoons during the fall of 2017. It was recorded live sans overdubs in two churches situated in Saint Lawrence on the south coast of the Isle of Wight, then mixed live, direct onto a vintage stereo Nagra IV-S reel to reel. They were joined by longtime musical partners Phil Achille and Eric Young, plus a cadre of local musicians and friends. Together they captured the ambience of the churches and the surrounding landscape. Tracks were titled after local landmarks, hidden beaches, and rural paths.

The MageFoat followed this with The Mage in May. It married British jazz past and future in his own compositions interpreted by the talents of jazz/library/soundtrack legends Duncan Lamont, Art Themen, Ray Russell, and Clark Tracey, alongside contemporary drummers Moses Boyd and the Heliocentrics' Malcolm Catto. A set highlight is a reading of the Caribbean Christian hymn "Of My Hands," sung by Kathleen Garcia, who first recorded it as a young girl some 45 years earlier; behind her is a backing vocal chorus directed by Simon Ljungman. Foat's other compositions and charts on the set seamlessly meld downtempo folk-scapes, modal jazz, hip-hop, and soul.

The Dreaming JewelsFoat fulfilled a long-held desire when he assembled the full GFG to work at Catto's storied all-analog studio, Quatermass Sound Lab. The band was joined by tenor saxophonist Binker Golding, guitarist Hugh Harris (the Kooks) on guitar, and Catto as a second drummer. The Dreaming Jewels, released in November by Athens of the North, was the realization of those sessions. It juxtaposed jazz-funk tunes written by GFG and its guests and included a pair of Foat's more spacious and aetheric compositions in the title track and "Lake Kussharo."

Artist Biography by Thom Jurek
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Artist biography from last.fm

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