Al Foster Quintet in Trieste, Italy 2007
January 18, 1943 |
Richmond, Virginia, United States
|Associated acts||Miles Davis|
Al Foster (born January 18, 1943 in Richmond, Virginia) is an American jazz drummer. Foster played with Miles Davis's large funk fusion group in the 1970s, was one of the few people to have contact with Miles during his retirement, and was also part of his comeback album The Man With the Horn of 1981. He was the only musician to play in Davis's band for both periods.
Foster has toured extensively with Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins, and Joe Henderson, becoming a major attraction in all three bands as well as an integral part of them. He is a versatile drummer who has played in musical styles ranging from bebop to free form to jazz/rock.
Foster grew up in New York. He began playing drums at the age of 13 and made his recording debut with Blue Mitchell at 21.
He joined Miles Davis's group when Jack DeJohnette left. As a member of the Davis band from 1972 to 1985, Foster's contribution to Davis' music is articulated by Davis himself in his 1989 autobiography, Miles: The Autobiography, where Davis describes the first time he heard Foster play live in 1972 at the Cellar Club on 95th Street in Manhattan: "He [Foster] knocked me out because he had such a groove and he would just lay it right in there. That was the kind of thing I was looking for. AI could set it up for everybody else to play off and just keep the groove going forever."
Foster has recorded and toured with his own band. He began composing in the 1970s. He likens it to playing chess with the piano. Although he does not read music, he can play his songs on the piano. Since 1996 Al has been touring with his own band, featuring bassist Douglas Weiss. The current band also features Israeli-born saxophonist Eli Degibri, and Adam Birnbaum on piano. The band has played more than 1000 concert and club dates all over the world, including the UK, Italy, France, Holland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Russia, South Africa.
As leader 
- The Night Of The Wolf (Vinyl, 7", 1975, Roulette Records) music by Ivano Fossati and Oscar Prudente.
- Mixed Roots (1978)
- Brandyn (1996, Laika Records) with Chris Potter, Dave Kikoski, Doug Weiss.
- Oh! (ScoLoHoFo) (2003) with Joe Lovano, John Scofield, Dave Holland
- Love, Peace and Jazz! Live at the Village Vanguard (2008, JazzEyes) with Eli Degibri, Kevin Hays, Doug Weiss
- The Paris Concert (DVD - 2008, Inakustic Gmbh) with Eddie Henderson, Eli Degibri, Aaron Goldberg, George Colligan, Doug Weiss
As sideman 
With Miles Davis
- On the Corner (1972)
- In Concert: Live at Philharmonic Hall (1973)
- Big Fun (1974)
- Get Up with It (1974)
- Dark Magus (1974)
- Agharta (1975)
- Pangaea (1975)
- The Man with the Horn (1981)
- We Want Miles (1981)
- Star People (1983)
- Decoy (1984)
- You're Under Arrest (1985)
- Amandla (1989)
With Illinois Jacquet
- The Soul Explosion (Prestige, 1969)
With Yusef Lateef
- The Doctor is In... and Out (Atlantic, 1976)
With Blue Mitchell
With Sonny Rollins
With McCoy Tyner
- Horizon (1979)
- Quartets 4 X 4 (1980)
- It's About Time (with Jackie McLean, 1985)
- New York Reunion (1991)
- McCoy Tyner Plays John Coltrane (1997)
- McCoy Tyner with Stanley Clarke and Al Foster (1998)
- Silver 'n Brass (with Horace Silver, 1975)
- Dune (with Sam Morrison, 1976)
- Witches, Goblins, Etc. (with Sadik Hakim, 1978)
- Everything Must Change (with Johnny Lytle, 1978)
- In, Out And Around (with Mike Nock, 1978)
- Elegie For Bill Evans (with Richie Beirach, 1981)
- The State of the Tenor, Vols. 1 & 2 (with Joe Henderson, 1985)
- So Near, So Far (Musings for Miles) (with Joe Henderson, 1992)
- Pure (with Chris Potter, Concord Records 1994)
- Time Well Spent (with Andy LaVerne and George Mraz, 1994)
- I Remember Miles (with Shirley Horn, 1998)
- The Montreal Tapes: Tribute to Joe Henderson (Verve, 1989 released 2004) (with Charlie Haden and Joe Henderson)
- Israeli Song (with Eli Degibri, 2010)
- Dave, Uncle (1944-01-18). "Al Foster". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- Lewis, Dave. "Al Foster: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-03-25.
- "Al Foster Band - The Night Of The Wolf (Vinyl) at Discogs". discogs. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
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