chuck foster

In 1961, Frank Zappa hired a bunch of studio musicians to record his 'Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance'. Chuck Foster played the engaging trumpet solo.

Chuck Glave: drums  (credited as Chuck Grove)
Caronga Ward
: bass
Tony Rodriquenz: alto sax  (credited as Tony Rodriguez)
Chuck Foster: trumpet
Danny Helferin: piano
Frank Zappa: guitar

the track appears on

Over at the "random notes" section, below, you can find the interview that Geoff Wills did with Chuck Foster.



  chuck foster: long over due
    (1985, cd, usa, sea breeze)


frank zappa: the lost episodes
   (1996, cd, usa, ryko)


frank zappa: mystery disc
   (1998, cd, usa, ryko)



random notes

2008 02 21

Geoff Wills says:

I recently interviewed Chuck Foster, who played trumpet on the original 1961 version of Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance. He revealed new information regarding that session and the musicians involved, and he also told me that he played on the soundtrack for Run Home Slow. He was also able to remember a number of the musicians who also played on the soundtrack. I'm enclosing my interview with him as an attachment, and you're welcome to put it on the United Mutations website if you think it's suitable. Chuck has read my interview and has given his approval.

He also made a solo jazz album in 1985 entitled Long Overdue, and I'll send you a picture of its cover.

                            AN INTERVIEW WITH CHUCK FOSTER

                                                Geoff Wills (2008)


I've been intrigued by the original version of Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance (originally titled Never On Sunday) since it appeared on The Lost Episodes. It's an excellent piece of straight-ahead jazz, with strong solos all round: the trumpet is clean and arresting, broadly with a Dizzy Gillespie/Clifford Brown sound; the alto sax is excitingly reminiscent of Cannonball Adderley and Phil Woods, and the piano style is somewhat like that of Jack Wilson, who was making a jazz name on the West Coast around the time that this was recorded. Frank Zappa's rhythm playing is perfect for the music. Interestingly, the tune is a bossa nova, and was recorded a year before Stan Getz made this form popular with Desafinado. Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance fits right in with other jazz that was happening on the West Coast in the early 1960s: funky, soulful music played by people like Les McCann, Harold Land, Curtis Amy, Dupree Bolton, and The Jazz Crusaders.

Keen to find out more about the musicians involved in the recording, I managed to obtain a copy of the solo LP made by trumpeter Chuck Foster in 1985. Entitled Long Overdue, it features tenor saxist Pete Christlieb and drummer Alex Acuna, and is a very enjoyable, swinging jazz album that should have reached a wider audience. Interestingly, Chuck had put his telephone number on the back of the LP sleeve, so I took a chance and rang it. Amazingly, Chuck answered, still at the same number, as luck would have it. He proved to be a very pleasant person who was happy to talk, and he was able to provide fascinating information about the Take Your Clothes Off session and also the recording of the Run Home Slow soundtrack. This is his story, taken from telephone conversations and emails.

Chuck was born on December 11, 1939. After joining his High School band at age twelve, he heard Louis Armstrong live in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. This stimulated his interest in improvising on the trumpet, and soon he was listening to recordings by Chet Baker, Clifford Brown, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. With friends, Chuck started playing dance gigs, and this continued until he graduated from High School. Next, he auditioned for a US army HQ band and was accepted. After attending Armed Forces Music School he spent one year each in the Eighth Army and Sixth Army Bands.

In January 1961 Chuck got out of the service and was in Los Angeles, and he received a call from someone associated with Frank Zappa to do a recording session. This turned out to be for Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance. He can only remember recording this one track at the Pal Studio session, but he said that they rehearsed tunes for a couple of weeks - "It was real loose, we had a lot of laughs, a very relaxed atmosphere." Interestingly, Chuck also said, "Oh yes, Frank always liked jazz - he was always a fan."

Of the other musicians on the session, Chuck was only acquainted with the alto sax player, whose name was Tony Rodriquenz, not Rodriguez as stated on the Lost Episodes CD. "He was a monster - sounded like Cannonball Adderley," said Chuck, "But he gravitated away from music and became a teacher (not music) and played at weekends." Sadly, Tony Rodriquenz died as a result of cancer in 2007. Chuck also believes that the name of the drummer on the session was Chuck Glave, not Chuck Grove, again as stated on the Lost Episodes CD.

Of further interest is that Chuck played trumpet on the soundtrack music for the film Run Home Slow, and he remembered a number of other musicians who were also involved. These were Ron Myers (trombone), Chick Carter (flute, tenor sax, baritone sax), Don Christlieb (bassoon), Pete Christlieb (tenor sax), Chuck Domanico (bass) and John Guerin (drums). Don Christlieb was already a first-call studio musician, and all the others developed high-profile jazz and/or session careers: Myers with Woody Herman, Don Ellis and Buddy Rich, Carter with Harry James, and Domanico with Don Ellis. Pete Christlieb appeared on Steely Dan's Aja.

In 1963 Chuck was a member of the Si Zentner orchestra, and between 1963 and 1966 he was in a nine-piece group (three trumpets, three trombones, three rhythm) backing singer Della Reese. In 1965 he made his first straight-ahead jazz album: this was Opus One, with the Hank Bagby Quintet. The album gained a 31/2  star review in Downbeat magazine. In 1966 he took the jazz trumpet chair with the Buddy Rich Orchestra. In 1969 he played with Harry James's orchestra, and from 1970 to 1978 he played headline shows in Las Vegas.

Unfortunately, Chuck had a motorcycle accident and retired from music for a time, but he gradually returned to playing local gigs. He recently had a serious eye operation, but is gradually improving, and appears to maintain a very positive attitude. His solo LP, Long Overdue, is well worth seeking out, and deserves to be issued on CD. Chuck's story also emphasizes that, from the beginning of his career, Frank Zappa had a liking for jazz, and associated with jazz musicians.

I'm very grateful to Chuck for co-operating so willingly in this interview, and for increasing the fund of knowledge available to music fans.

-- Geoff Wills


frank zappa  / musicians timeline



 c   d   e   f   g   h   i   j   k   l   m 
 n   o   p   q   r   s   t   u   v   w   x   y   z
soundtracks various artists