Al Foster

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Al Foster
Al Foster.jpg
Al Foster Quintet in Trieste, Italy 2007
Background information
Born (1943-01-18) January 18, 1943 (age 71)
Richmond, Virginia, United States
Genres Jazz
Occupations Musician
Instruments Drum set
Years active 1960s-present[1]
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 Davis during his retirement, and was also part of his comeback album The Man with the Horn in 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. 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.[2] 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. Al 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 Doug 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[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Miles Davis

With Jimmy Heath

With Illinois Jacquet

With Yusef Lateef

With Blue Mitchell

With Sonny Rollins

With McCoy Tyner

With others


  1. ^ Dave, Uncle (1944-01-18). "Al Foster". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  2. ^ Lewis, Dave. "Al Foster: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-03-25. 
  3. ^ "Al Foster Band - The Night Of The Wolf (Vinyl) at Discogs". discogs. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 

External links[edit]