Happy Birthday Al Foster

January 18, 1943

A tribute to the inventive modern drummer

Drummer Al Foster was born on January 18, 1944 in Richmond, Virginia.

Foster grew up in New York, began on the drums when he was 13, and made his recording debut seven years later on trumpeter Blue Mitchell’s The Thing To Do.

The drummer made further recordings with Mitchell, Monty Alexander, Illinois Jacquet and Larry Willis, but did not become well-known in the jazz world until he joined Miles Davis in 1972.

Foster was Davis’ regular drummer during 1972-75, participating in such recordings as Big Fun, Get Up With It, Dark Magus and Pangaea.

Never just a fusion drummer, Foster also recorded during that period with Cecil Payne, Duke Jordan, and Abbey Lincoln.

After Davis went into retirement, Al Foster worked with Horace Silver, Dexter Gordon, Lionel Hampton, Rrd Garland, Art Pepper, Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, Hank Jones and others before rejoining Miles Davis in 1981 for another three years.

Since then Al Foster has freelanced with top jazz artists including Joanne Brackeen, Joe Henderson, Tommy Flanagan, Jimmy Heath, Eddie Daniels, Carmen McRae, Roy Hargrove, Joe Lovano, Eric Reed and Gary Bartz.

Al Foster is featured playing a drum solo with McCoy Tyner and bassist Charnett Moffett at Jazz Fest Vienna 2000.

-Scott Yanow


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