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Al Foster


The Joe Henderson Trio consisting of Joe Henderson (tenor sax), Dave Holland (bass), and Al Foster (drums) perform in Munich, Germany on July 16, 1993.

Al Foster was born in Richmond, Virginia on January 18, 1943 but grew up in New York. He began playing drums at the age of 13 and made his recording debut, with Blue Mitchell, at 16.

He joined Miles Davis's group when Jack DeJohnette left. As a member of the Davis band from 1972 to 1985, and was one of the few people to have contact with Miles during his retirement. He was also part of his comeback album "The Man With the Horn" in 1981, the only musician to play in Miles' band during both periods. 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 toured extensively with Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins, and Joe Henderson in addition to his own band, 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. He began composing in the 1970's. 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 over 1000 concert and club dates all over the world, including the UK, Italy, France, Holland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Russia, South Africa.



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