Saturday, January 12, 2019

Al Foster - 1997 "Brandyn"

Al Foster (born January 18, 1944) 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.

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, 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.

Drummer Al Foster is widely recognized as a first call jazz drummer who has worked with many greats, including an extended tour of duty with Miles Davis, as well as stints with Cannonball Adderley, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock, and Joe Henderson. This 1996 studio session made for the German Laika label is evidently Foster's first opportunity to record as a leader. Putting together an excellent band, with saxophonist Chris Potter (who doubles on soprano and tenor), pianist Dave Kikoski, and bassist Doug Weiss, Foster writes challenging post-bop compositions that inspire his bandmates, while he is perfectly happy to give them the spotlight.

His bittersweet, bluesy "Monk Up and Down," is harmonically rich, with a superb tenor solo by Potter. The saxophonist contributed the percolating "Amsterdam Blues," suggesting the lively night scene of Harlem in its heyday. Kikoski composed the driving "Hope." The one familiar piece is Wayne Shorter's "Black Nile," played with gusto by the quartet. This may not be an easy CD to find, but it is obvious to anyone hearing it that Al Foster merits more opportunities to lead his own record dates.

Master drummer Al Foster puts together his dream band for this supremely listenable collection of modern jazz originals. Chris Potter starts the first two on soprano sax, quickly shifting to tenor and mixing it up. To these ears, Dave Kikoski never sounded more lyrical or intense than with comping and soloing on this set. Doug Weiss and Foster anchor with supreme confidence. That this release is so little known is criminal.

Track listing:

1.The Chief 07:36
2.Brandyn 05:22
3.Monk Up And Down 09:12
4.Barney Rose 07:31
5.Amsterdam Blues 06:32
6.Hope 07:26
7.No Title 05:55
8.Black Nile 05:53


Al Foster - drums
Chris Potter - soprano sax
Dave Kikoski - piano
Doug Weiss - bass



  2. It's ironic that you posted this, I have been looking for another one of his titles called "Love,Peace & Jazz" Live from the Village Vanguard 2007. Mr.jazzfusionhiphop

  3. Many Thanks!!! - James