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Al Foster

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Al Foster
Al Foster Quintet in Trieste, Italy 2007
Al Foster Quintet in Trieste, Italy 2007
Background information
Birth nameAloysius Tyrone Foster
Born (1943-01-18) January 18, 1943 (age 81)
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Years active1960s–present[1]

Aloysius Tyrone Foster (born January 18, 1943) is an American jazz drummer. Foster's professional career began in the mid-60s, when he played and recorded with hard bop and swing musicians including Blue Mitchell and Illinois Jacquet. Foster played jazz fusion with Miles Davis during the 70s and was one of the few people to have contact with Davis during his retirement from 1975 to 1980. During Davis's retirement, Foster continued to play and record acoustic jazz with Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, McCoy Tyner, Horace Silver, and other band leaders. Foster played on Miles Davis's 1981 comeback album The Man with the Horn, and was the only musician to play in Davis's band both before, and after, his retirement. After leaving Davis's band in the mid-80s, Foster toured and recorded with Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, and many other band leaders, primarily working in acoustic jazz settings. Foster has also released several solo albums under his own name, starting with Mixed Roots in 1978.


Foster was born in Richmond, Virginia, United States,[2] and grew up in New York. He began playing drums at the age of 13 and made his recording debut on Blue Mitchell's, The Thing to Do, at age 20.[2]

He joined Miles Davis's group when Jack DeJohnette left in 1972,[3] and played with Davis until 1985.[2] In his 1989 autobiography, Davis described the first time he heard Foster play live in 1972 at the Cellar Club 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 began composing in the 1970s, and has toured with his own band, including musicians such as bassist Doug Weiss, saxophonist Dayna Stephens, and pianist Adam Birnbaum.


As leader[edit]

  • Mixed Roots (CBS/Sony, 1978)
  • Mr. Foster (Better Days, 1979)
  • Brandyn (Laika, 1997)
  • Oh! (ScoLoHoFo) with Joe Lovano, John Scofield, Dave Holland (Blue Note, 2003) – recorded in 2002
  • Love, Peace and Jazz! Live at the Village Vanguard with Eli Degibri, Kevin Hays, Doug Weiss (JazzEyes, 2008)
  • The Paris Concert (Inakustic, 2008)[DVD-Video]
  • Inspirations and Dedications (Smoke Sessions, 2019)
  • Reflections (Smoke Sessions, 2022)

As sideman[edit]


  1. ^ Dave, Uncle (January 18, 272). "Al Foster". AllMusic. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Who's Who of Jazz (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. pp. 149/150. ISBN 0-85112-580-8.
  3. ^ Lewis, Dave. "Al Foster: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved March 25, 2010.
  4. ^ "Dreaming of Your Love - Fred Lipsius | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved July 27, 2021.

External links[edit]