Jeff Foxx is an institution. A popular force in morning radio, Jeff has been “rockin’ the box” for more than 20 years in New York City. While he has ruled the radio waves of one of the most important markets in the country, there is more to Jeff Foxx than just a smooth, friendly voice. He’s also a gifted musician and composer and now he’s using his place in the radio to craft songs that he hopes one day soon receive the same exposure that he has doled out to artists since he began in radio in 1981. From Cleveland to Chicago to New York, Jeff Foxx’s personable and pleasing voice has made him a pioneer. He invaded NY airwaves in the late 1980s at 98.7 KISS-FM and before there was a Hot97 or every formal rap radio, he was introducing the world to De La Soul and Public Enemy, while keeping Black music alive and expanding. He’s done radio solo, as a duo, as a part of the Sirius Satellite Network. Now he’s part of the winning morning team at KISS FM and that has made him a continuing force in the most viable marketplace in the country for the last two decades. Jeff Foxx is indeed a premier radio aficionado.
Jeff has worked with comedian George Wallace, the late superstar composer/ musician/singer Isaac Hayes. He is now preparing to join the ranks of the artists that he has worked so effortlessly to make household names. Jeff Foxx is a musician, in his heart and in his history, and now the world will see that side of him on his self-titled musical debut—the aptly titled JEFF FOXX.
The gifted composer found the bass guitar his instrument of choice at the young age of 10. Like many youngsters, Jeff patterned his music after popular R&B bands of the time like Earth, Wind & Fire, the Ohio Players, Tower of Power and Cool & the Gang. Initially astute at rock music, because it was easier to play, he put together a band that rivaled Jim Hendrix. Always eager to perform, Jeff played in theater productions, churches, school and local talent shows. As his life, his career and his craft grew, he never put his instrument down.
The married father of three has formed a band in every market where he could be found on radio and his foray into NYC gave birth to opportunities to not only play more frequently, but in bigger spots. The Jeff Foxx Band in NYC has played with such icons as Chaka Khan, Al Jarreau, Najee and Roy Ayers. His time on radio with Isaac Hayes stands out as a particularly prolific period in his growth as a musician. “Imagine being a kid and hearing and loving Isaac’s music with his poster with the chains around his neck, then working with him and playing onstage with him. It was an absolute dream come true to play with Isaac Hayes. He taught me a lot about music. A lot of folks came to see him perform that year he was on radio. We kept a keyboard and bass guitar in the studio and played something everyday. I really miss him.”
Working with renown producer Bernard Bell (“Remember The Time” – Michael Jackson; “My Prerogative” – Bobby Brown and “Searching” – Glenn Jones, which Bell wrote), Foxx offered him some songs that he had composed over the years and found that in the anointed hands of a master, the songs sounded fresh as ever. JEFF FOXX, the project—a compilation of contemporary and R&B offerings—is filled with positive and passionate material that elevates the mind and the soul, while still entertaining the ear. Foxx could have used his radio-royalty status to pull together a team of all teams, but decided, purposefully, to work with the musicians who helped to keep his passion for music alive. Discovering new talent and working with established session musicians, Jeff Foxx, the musician, hopes that JEFF FOXX, the musical project, reflects his commitment to music and to keeping the groove alive.
“SUNSET DRIVE” is an up-tempo instrumental, fronted by the saxophone, and the signature bass line of Jeff Foxx himself and melodious keyboard work. Jeff says that “the song puts you in the car, roof down and time on your hands, just grooving. The song transports you and you don’t have to be in the car to be in the state of mine, where you’re cruising and free. It’s a solid groove.”
The song “IF YOU LOOK INTO YOUR HEART” has a special history for Jeff. The musician offers that “I wrote this song twenty years ago, to motivate myself to listen to my heart and now, under the vocals of Corey Fillmore, this young brother out of New Jersey that we (Foxx and Bernard Bell) discovered, the song is for my sons, the next generation, and for anyone who needs to be reminded to dream.” Reminiscent of The Blue Notes’ “Wake Up Everybody” and George Benson’s classic “The Greatest Love of All,” the song speaks to a zest for life that encourages while still being the kind of in-the-pocket groove that is Foxx’s musical forte.
Fronted by keyboardist Damon Upshaw, “ANY WAY UP,” is a keyboard showcase that let’s you ride the melody. The inspiration for the song—the message that you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to get to the next level—is that Foxx wanted a strong driving force of a song. “The song is a motivator, and might put some in the mind of Ramsey Lewis, Herbie Hancock and even Chick Corea. It’s a great melodic flow. Melody is always what matters to me.”
His years in radio played a great role in the songs that Foxx has put forward on this project. “As a bass player, I ride the groove. I like to get your head moving, like Kool and the Gang and James Brown and the sounds I heard when I first fell in love with music.” That sound trained Foxx’s ear and helped him pick hit songs over these 20 years in radio and he hopes that that ear is equally well-tuned on his own songs. “I know what it feels like to have a song instantly grab you and it’s usually a catchy melody. Now, I’m hoping that the formula works for me!”