Bassist Mo Foster, who played on over 400 albums and singles, dead at 78

Mo Foster
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British session bassist Mo Foster, who worked with a wide range of rock, blues and prog artists in a career spanning seven decades, died at the age of 78 on July 3 (Monday). The news was confirmed by guitarist Ray Russell, a long-term collaborator, who was at Foster’s bedside when he died.

After building his own bass as a teenager because none were available for sale, Foster co-founded the prog-jazz band Affinity before developing a roster of live appointments that included work with Phil Collins (on his 1982 debut solo tour and that year’s album Hello, I Must Be Going), Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Roger Glover, Michael Schenker, Sting and many others. 

He recorded with Meat Loaf, Gerry Rafferty, Brian May, Ringo Starr, Peter Green and more. A regular in TV and movie sessions, he was heard on the soundtracks to James Bond movies For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy. He also wrote books about music and released a number of solo albums. His bass playing appears on over 400 albums and singles (you can see his album credits here).

“I have, in the past, been privileged to play with, for example, Jeff Beck at the Greek Theatre in LA, Phil Collins at London’s Hammersmith Odeon, jazz composer Gil Evans at The Montreux Jazz Festival, and the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican theatre in London,” he once told Bass Inside.

“Every gig was wonderful (or terrifying) in its own way. Decades of studio playing has taught me to be aware of the needs of the song, the requirements of the bass line and the actual sound that I’m making. When routining a song it's good to shove out lots of ideas – too many, even – some of which may even become hooks. But I also realised that if you can play one note beautifully, and in the right place, then you’re on the way.”

In his personal tribute, Russell expressed his sadness at their 50-year friendship ending. “I held his hand, kissed him, said my goodbyes and he fell into a deep sleep,” the guitarist said. “Six hours later he had slipped away hopefully to join the famous others who have left us. 

“There will be posts of what musical heights Mo achieved… He was a master, but also a master at making the most awful things funny.” He added that Foster’s “values and integrity were emblazoned on anything [he] wrote, played and composed,” concluding: “There will never be another Mo.”

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