MANAGER OF THE KLEZMORIM from 1979 through '87 — and good-hearted man of energy, integrity, and vision — Rick Foster sweated, struggled, and hit the road with us for many tough, event-filled years. More than anybody else, he helped translate the band's grandiose aspirations into real-world accomplishments.
From the first time he heard us play, Rick understood that the music could go anywhere and that the band could play for anybody. Yet he assiduously deferred to me and the other players on issues of repertoire and style, never crossing the line that divides career management from artistic direction. Well, hardly ever.
We did make the cat wear an ungodly lot of hats: press liaison, driver, translator, nursemaid, psychoanalyst. One could not imagine a hipper, funnier companion in New York or Paris — or a savvier negotiator when crossing international borders with thirty-six pieces of equipment.
Raconteur, gourmet chef, mentor, lifelong friend... Rick and I hardly ever rehash our days together on the road — post-traumatic stress disorder lurks too close to the surface — but we always seem to find plenty of current stuff to talk about.