Al Foster
* January 18, 1944
United States
Al Foster, master drummer, has been a major innovator in the world of jazz for several decades. As a member of the Miles Davis band for thirteen years, 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."

Other artists Foster has performed and recorded with include Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Hutcherson, John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, Randy & Michael Brecker, Bill Evans (the pianoplayer), George Benson, Kenny Drew, Carmen McRae, Stan Getz, Toots Thielemans, Dexter Gordon and Chick Corea. Over the years, 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.

Respected and admired for his keen sensitivity, Foster is known for his unique ability to listen to and playoff others in an almost telepathic way, responding to them with a style that is at once both charismatic and understated. Foster, is a great believer in the purity of the music, a genuine artist who continues to push the boundaries of creativity again and again, devoted to preserving and perpetuating the highest standards in jazz today. He is a magnificent all-round drummer, and his rhythmic chops are renowned in musical styles ranging from bebop to free form to jazz/rock. Recently he has recorded and toured with his own band.

Al Foster can simply be referred to as "Al"," Aloysius", "Chief", or "the New York Flash". He has played with Thelonius Monk, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Mike Brecker, David Sanborn, Charlie Haden, Bobby Hutcherson, Cannonball Adderly, Joe Lovano, Paul Bley... to name a few... His first recording was made with Blue Mitchell, "The Thing To Do", BN 84178, July 30, 1964. Aloysius was 19. It was also Chick Corea's first date. Pianist Kevin Hays has been in the band since filling in for Aaron Goldberg in 1999. Al couldn't believe how good his tunes sounded with Kevin in there. Eli joined the year before, after a two year stint with Herbie Hancock. Bassist Doug Weiss joined in 1996. About his playing, Al is unequivocal:"Doug is my main man, the straw boss, keeps me together. He is just about my favorite bass player. I love his big his walkin' sound!"
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