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Foureman’s new album and virtual concert showcase bass and piano duo

Jason Foureman and Stephen Anderson pause for a photo during their recording sessions for Duo in summer of 2019.

When a musician releases an album they’ll typically go on tour to promote it, performing in venues across the country or abroad and giving interviews on local radio stations. Unfortunately, none of that is possible during a global pandemic. But applied lecturer and bassist Jason Foureman, whose album Duo with pianist Stephen Anderson was released in June, is looking forward to performing for an online audience during a livestream concert with Anderson on Oct. 24 to celebrate the album’s release. 

Album cover for Duo

Duo is distributed by Summit Records, an international record label, and includes lesser-known jazz standards and some originals by Foureman and his friend Dave Finucane, a local tenor saxophonist. Despite the timing of its release, Foureman said it feels great to have the album out in the world for people to hear. “Steve and I had been looking to do this, unconsciously maybe, for a long, long time,” he said. “And it really feels better now that it’s out. It’s like it’s a product of the musical trust that we have in each other. There’s not very much rehearsal, not very much dialogue; just get in there, do it, get out. That was the mentality of the whole thing.”

In addition to teaching jazz bass lessons, coaching combos and directing the NC State Jazz Lab Band (MUS 142) with teaching professor and Director of Jazz Studies Wes Parker, Foureman has also taught with Anderson at UNC-Chapel Hill for ten years, where they play in faculty concerts together as well as with guest artists. 

“We’re always sidemen with all these guest artists that come through year after year,” said Foureman. “And we always were both so busy— he has a big family, I have a big family—that we never actually get a chance to play how we want to. 

“I wanted to put out an album that I was the leader on and I wanted to do a duo because, as a bassist, it’s so hard to be heard when there’s percussion. So I wanted people to hear me and I want to have a record that people like to listen to. I don’t care if it’s really groundbreaking or forward leaning; I don’t care. Maybe it will be, maybe it won’t. But I wanted something intimate and listenable.”

Image of pianist Stephen Anderson and applied lecturer and bassist Jason Foureman in the recording studio.
Pianist Stephen Anderson and applied instructor and bassist Jason Foureman record music for their album Duo in summer of 2019. Photos by W. Patrick Gale.

Foureman and Anderson recorded the album over the course of two days utilizing complete takes of each song, with no fixes or splicing after the fact. They also recorded in the same room together, rather than in isolated booths. “I think that honestly had an effect on how it sounds aurally, like physically,” he said. “To me the album sounds very warm and very present, which is what I wanted. And I think it’s because we were bleeding all into each other’s mics and sound. So when the listener puts the thing on, it should feel and sound like they’re in the room.”

Promoting an album without being able to go on tour has been a challenge during the pandemic, especially since Foureman’s wife is an essential healthcare worker (“She has moral authority now, forever,” he said) and they have children at home. But Duo is receiving positive reviews and Summit Records has submitted it to be considered for a Grammy nomination. 

To hear music from Duo, tune in to Foureman and Anderson’s livestream concert which will be broadcast online from the Durham Jazz Workshop on Saturday, Oct. 24 at 7:00 p.m. and will stay available for later viewing. The album can be previewed and purchased online through Summit Records.