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written by David Foster & Michael Landau


David Foster’s 1985 instrumental hit, “Love Theme From St. Elmo’s Fire,” gave the Canadian super-producer the chance to record a whole album of evocative instrumental themes for Atlantic Records. Aptly titled David Foster, it was the introduction of Foster’s multiple talents to mainstream audiences after more than a decade of hard work in the studio as session player, writer, producer and arranger. David Foster featured Foster’s keyboard wizardry using all the advanced technology of those days including synths and sequencers such as the Fairlight CMI, Linn drum machine, Kurzweil, Roland Jupiter-8, Wendell Junior, Emulator 3, as well as many others. Although the sound result may be a tad cold for today’s ears, it was a standard of excellence back in the day. Foster’s superior art of composing and arranging came through beautifully. The rock/fusion landscapes of “Playing With Fire” from David Foster is the pick for this week’s review.

Co-written by The Hitman with frequent collaborator and studio guitar legend Mike Landau, “Playing With Fire” offers a different, bolder sound with Landau’s rock guitar licks and prominent horns tastefully joined with Foster’s crafted keyboard playing and programming. “Playing With Fire” featured the fusion great Lee Ritenour who’s SynthAxe guitar playing was considered state-of-the-art and lead the track to beef-up its sound. Foster, among his various synths and keys, played also an unusual slap-funk synth bass. The aforementioned horns were performed by James Pankow, Lee Loughnane and Walt Parazaider of the famed band Chicago . Their winning touch to the song embellished the atmosphere with a few lead moments that showcased Chicago ‘s unmistakable brass sound. “Playing With Fire” even sounded like an instrumental track that Chicago could have recorded under Foster’s production. With the producer’s now-classic arranging ideas and top-notch performances, David Foster brought its maker the Juno Award as “Instrumental Artist of the Year” and the Grammy nod as “Best Pop Instrumental Performance.” Other great moments on David Foster were “Tapdance,” “Flight Of The Snowbirds,” a #6 Adult Contemporary hit, “The Best Of Me” sung by Foster with Olivia Newton-John and the other vocal track, “Who’s Gonna Love You Tonight.” All those songs can be rediscovered in the archives.


[audio:|titles=Playing With Fire|artists=David Foster]


Keyboards: David Foster
Synthaxe Guitar: Lee Ritenour
Guitars: Michael Landau
Drums Overdubs: Tris Imboden
Trumpet: Lee Loughnane
Trombone: James Pankow
Saxophone: Walter Parazaider

Arranged by David Foster
Produced by Humberto Gatica & David Foster


No Lyrics