Al Foster

Al Foster (born January 18, 1943) is an American jazz drummer. Foster played with Miles Davis during the 1970s and was one of the few people to have contact with Davis during his retirement from 1975–1981. Foster also played on Davis's 1981 comeback album The Man with the Horn. He was the only musician to play in Davis's band both before and after his retirement. He has toured extensively with Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins, and Joe Henderson.

Al Foster
Al Foster Quintet in Trieste, Italy 2007
Background information
Born (1943-01-18) January 18, 1943
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Years active1960s–present[1]
Associated actsMiles Davis


Foster was born in Richmond, Virginia, 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.

He joined Miles Davis's group when Jack DeJohnette left in 1972,[2] and played with Davis until 1985. 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

As sideman

With Kenny Barron

With Walter Bishop Jr.

With Joanne Brackeen

With Donald Byrd

With Miles Davis

With Tommy Flanagan

With Red Garland

With Dexter Gordon

With Jimmy Heath

With Joe Henderson

With Shirley Horn

With Bobby Hutcherson

With Illinois Jacquet

With Duke Jordan

With Yusef Lateef

With Dave Liebman

With Ronnie Mathews

With Blue Mitchell

With Tete Montoliu

With Frank Morgan

With Art Pepper

With Sonny Rollins

With Bud Shank

With Lonnie Liston Smith

With McCoy Tyner

With Cedar Walton

With Larry Willis

With Steve Kuhn

  • The Vanguard Date with Ron Carter (Sunnyside/E1, 1986)
  • Life's Magic with Ron Carter (Sunnyside/E1, 1986)
  • Seasons of Romance (Postcards, 1995)
  • Live at Birdland with Ron Carter (Blue Note, 2006)

With others


  1. Dave, Uncle (January 18, 1943). "Al Foster". AllMusic. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
  2. Lewis, Dave. "Al Foster: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved March 25, 2010.
  3. All Music
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