This page is dedicated to the memory of Mark's long time friend and colleague, Art Foxall
Art Foxall studied music at the New England Conservatory of Music and at the Schillinger House of Music (now known as The Berklee College of Music). Art performed for over 60 years at venues and jazz festivals around the world on tenor saxophone and as a vocalist. Art was featured as a Legend of Seattle Jazz in the 2005 Earshot Jazz Festival. Musicians Art has performed with include Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn, Artie Shaw, Roy Eldridge, Little Richard, Ivory Joe Hunter, and Jaki Byard.
Art played and sang mainstream jazz since the forties world-wide, recently returning from his fourth European tour, this time with pianist and friend Overton Berry. He was working on a CD with his producer, Mark Lewis, when he fell ill. Besides music, he was a veteran of the Navy and retired from Amtrak.
Art played a hard swinging bluesy style with a big tenor sound. Those who knew him or saw just one of his performances will miss him. Art Foxall was one of the last Mohicans in jazz. His tenor sound came from the "footpattin'" Texas Tenorman which has defined mainstream jazz to many. He was a kind, honest and yet direct man who will be greatly missed by musicians, audiences, and probably anyone who knew him.
Born on April 21,1925, in Houston, Art Foxall began his musicianship at the age of thirteen with the clarinet. The sound wasn't big enough for him, though, and he was soon playing that Texas Tenor and listening to musicians from his area like Arnette Cobb and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vincent.
Art began his Professional career by playing in a band led by Amos Milburn. In 1943 he joined the Navy and played a stint with the Artie Shaw band. Discharged in 1946, he decided it was time to seek more formal education and enrolled in Boston at the New England Conservatory of Music. He continued from "49 to 51" at the Schillinger House of Music (now known as The Berkeley School of Music). While in Boston,Art led the house band for the "Hi-Hat" jazzclub. Some of the people who have played in Art's bands include Jaki Byard,G.C.Gryce, Alan Dawson, H.B. Barnum, Joe Gordon and Sam Rivers. Art was also featured on the same stage with the legendary Charlie Parker.
The tenor man has been featured with such outstanding performers as Dinah Washington, Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughn, Cat Anderson and Roy Eldridge. In 1960 he signed a contract with Dot Records and recorded with Ivory Joe Hunter and Little Richard. After playing concerts at the Apollo Theater in New York City, he moved to LA and played extensively with his trio. In 1975, after playing Las Vegas, he worked for Sitmar Cruises, to get away from the fast life for awhile, but his drummer, Frank Valley, passed away at sea and that marked the end of public appearances for a time.
The end of 1976 brought Foxall to Seattle where he was recorded by Audio Daddio Records for scat vocalist, Vonne Griffin. This prompted the company to arrange a tour in Europe for Art, along with a recording date in Holland. His first LP, Young and Old led Art to find success not only in his adopted home, Seattle but in Europe and on tours up and down the West Coast including Alaska. The album also reached number one on the jazz charts in Houston, Texas. If you are looking for a sound that swings hard yet gives you that down home feeling, keep your ears open for the Big Tenor Sound, Art Foxall.
Gig harbor(Wa.),Bellevue Community College (Wa.),Sitmar Cruise Ship (Alaska),Heineken Jazz Festival (Holland), Everett Symphony(Wa.), Conway Jazz Festival(Wa.),Kirkland Jazz Festival (Wa), The 4th Annual Jazz Festival at The Manor (Wa.)
Appearances in "Roaring 20's" series with Dorothy Provine. Appearances on several occasions,
Turkey Trot,1950,Dot Records Young and Old, 1985, Audio Daddio Art's Back in Town,1987 Audio Daddio, Sound of Lopez Island, 1988, A.F. Blue Fox, 1990,Audio Daddio
Conway Jazz Festival,1989,produced by Trish Hatley
ARTIST PEFORMED WITH:
Charles Brown, Ruth Brown, Amos Milbur, Lester "Wintertime" Williams, Diane Schuur, Jessie Price, Ivory Joe Hunter, Steve Allen, Arnett Cobb, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vincent, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Sam River, Overton Berry, Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington, Artie Shaw, Joe Gordon, Louis Armstrong, Cat Anderson, Roy Eldridge, Little Richard, Vonne Griffin, Mark Lewis.
The Everett Symphony-"Swing In The Spring"1991 Seattle,Wa.-Performed at a party for Oprah Winfrey at the Columbia Tower,1992
New York: Apollo Theatre 1951
Washington: Radisson Hotel(SeaTac), Marriott Hotel(SeaTac), Conway Tavern(Conway), New Orleans Restaurant, Pamells, Sheraton Hotel, Olympic Hotel, and Columbia Tower(Seattle), Holiday Inn, Hyatt Regency and The Lake Club(Bellevue), Salish Lodge(Issaquah), Useless Bay, Country Club(Whidbey Island), Embassy Suites Hotel, Lynnwood and Bellevue, Microsoft Picnic at Mountain Meadows, North Bend, for more than 13,000 people. Summer Nights Series, August 10,1944, Woodmark Hotel, Carillon Point,Kirland. Skansonia Charters,September 1994(Seattle). Westin hotel with Manhatten Transfer-April 11,199?,(Seattle). Appeared at Ground Coffie in April 30,1999(Tacoma)
Holland: Barbiertje(Hellevoetsluis), Laurel and Hardy(Spijkenisse), The Ditch(Schiedam), Cottage Inn(Rotterdam), Consul(Rotterdam). De "B" (Rotterdam), Caf6 Facet, The Caf6 Floor (Rotterdam), Dizzy's (Rotterdam)
Canada: Chauteau Lacombe(Edmonton), Railtown (Edmonton), Sheraton Hotel (Edmonton), Tekarra(Jasper)
Cairo, Egypt: Performance at the Marriott Hotel 1993 July Food Festival. January, 1994 and July, U.S. Food Festival, Marriott Hotel. Played at Queen of England's Birtday Ball at British Embassy 24,1994, played to sold out house at the Opera House, June28,1994 and also performed at US Embassy for Ambassador Walker. It is considered the largest U.S. Embassy anywhere in the world
Oregon: Red Lion and Holland Hotel (Medford). Three Star Restaurant (Portland)
Massachusetts: Hi Hat (Boston), Wally Paradise (Boston), Revere Ballroom (Revere Beach) Silver (Everett)
Maine: Crescent Hotel (Waterville)
Ohio: Rendezvous (Cleveland)
Texas: Uptown Mr. Abe (Houston)
California: Keyboard Lounge (Los Angeles)
Art Foxall died Monday August 25th 2008 in Federal Way, Washington . He was 83 years old. He lived at the Life Care Center of Federal Way during an extended illness, where his upbeat attitude was an inspiration to family and friends, as well as the Care Center staff. He is survived by his daughter, Tory Foxall.
Mark Lewis' story about August 25th 2008:
It was a Monday night at 10:30. I was watching a show about Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov, one of my favorites. I said “Man, I bet Art would like this show.” Then I felt him in the room, and I knew what that feeling was because I’ve had it before. He was saying good-bye to me. So I showed him around the studio. I showed him his place. I showed him all the work I’d done on the studio. I showed him all the paintings I’d painted. I told him I was waiting till I got better to paint him for his album cover. About a half hour later I knew he had to go.
I felt bad because he was gone, so I played this song called “Lasting Rites” that I had written for him, actually, for his album. I just played it on the piano. It was about a minute long. I played the melody, that’s all. Right when I finished, this guy Chris, who’s my neighbor, knocked on the door. I said, “What’s wrong, Chris, you look like you just saw a ghost.” He said, “I did. I saw your house completely engulfed in fog. I couldn’t even see a foot into the fog for about a minute, then it was gone. I had given Chris my last copy of the first album I did with Art, because Chris was a young hip-hop musician and I wanted to show him his grand-daddy in the jazz. He was really thankful I gave it to him and cherished it a lot. I had talked about Art Foxall to Chris before, and told him things that Art had told me about life. Chris had stopped because of this fog. I told him Art had just passed away. He felt bad for me, and left.
I went to bed early that night. Rhonda came by the next day and told me she had some bad news. I said, “Yeah, Art passed away.” She said, “How did you know? Did Overton call you?” I said “No, I just knew. He passed away at 10:30.” (He did pass away at 10:30.) I’m very thankful that he said good-bye to me, and got a chance to see the studio. But I miss him. A lot.
Art's Tenor Saxophone, Years Later:
In 2014, Art's daughter Tory decided it was time to let Art's saxophone go to a new home. Since Art lived a long life, his saxophone had become a collectible model by the time he was finished with it. Tory advertised the saxophone on the web and soon had a buyer lined up in Los Angeles. When she went to bed that night, the story goes that Art came to her in a dream and said "What about Mark?" Tory called Mark Lewis the next day and offered the saxophone. A friend of Audio Daddio was able to buy Art's saxophone, and Mark plays it to this day. Although Mark, a life long alto player, is finding his own voice on the tenor, every once in a while listeners hear the sound change, and those who knew Art would swear the sax is playing Art's Big Texas Tenor sound.
Photo Tribute to Art Foxall, 2015:
Art made several trips to The Netherlands to perform and record, most of them arranged by Mark Lewis and Audio Daddio. A fine photographer and friend of Mark and Art, Anna Van der Sloot, put together a photo book about Art and published it on her artist website in 2015: