Big LeRoy's Bio
LeRoy Foster has traversed numerous musical styles during his musical career, which has spanned three decades. Born in the 1950's, LeRoy was first inspired by the music played by his parent's at home. LeRoy's mother was a talented vocalist who sang spirituals to LeRoy from birth. LeRoy's father was a jazz aficionado who exposed LeRoy to the genius of Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Wes Montgomery during his pre-teen years. It wasn't until 1964, that LeRoy forsook the piano and clarinet to learn guitar. After all, 1964 ushered in the British Rock Invasion led by Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton. After one year on the guitar, LeRoy discovered a guitarist who would change the way the young guitarist approached the instrument. That guitarist was Jimi Hendrix and according to LeRoy; "all bets were off". LeRoy played in numerous rockin' blues bands until his induction into the U.S. Army in 1972. After his discharge in 1974, LeRoy followed his
dad's lead and began to seriously pursue jazz guitar. Through the 1970's, LeRoy enjoyed success as a session and sideman for jazz fusion bands in the Philadelphia area. In 1980, LeRoy moved to Texas and there he began his love affair with the Blues. During the "Texas Years" LeRoy began to develop the "in your face", "both barrels blazin' " guitar style that sets him apart from many of his contemporaries. LeRoy befriended Texas Bluesman Sonny Rhodes in 1988 and the "real" learning process began. LeRoy declares;" I met Sonny, tapped into his soulful energy and it was all over". LeRoy performed in Sonny's band locally and on the road, throughout the end of the 1980's and into the 1990's. LeRoy has also toured with Little Frankie Lee and Big Jack Johnson the Oil Man. In 1996 LeRoy left Big Jack and began to tour regionally under his own name with his band Bad Bidness. In 2004, LeRoy released his first CD titled "Meaning of the Blues" on the K&L Blues label. In regard to his first commercial project, LeRoy says; " this work encompasses the sum total of my musical expeiences. I attempted to meld blues, jazz, soul and rock into the original compositions on the CD. After all, every one of these genres possesses "the meaning of the blues". LeRoy Foster makes an impression on anyone who meets him. Jonny Meister called LeRoy "Philadelphia's best blues guitarist". But, Sonny Rhodes summed it up all so well when he declared to an audience one night at The Grand Emporium in Kansas City Missouri; " this boy is 300 lbs. of blues with an attitude". During his career, LeRoy has shared the stage with numerous blues legends to include: Carrie Bell, James Cotton, Anson Funderburg with Sam Waters just to name a few. One of Big LeRoy Foster's major influences was "The Master of the Telecaster", Albert Collins.
photo by Sharon A. Wright