June 13, 2024

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CD review: Al Foster – Reflections 2022: Video, CD cover

Approaching 80 years of age is occasion enough for anyone to take a moment and look back on a life well lived. For legendary drummer Al Foster, those eight decades have been more memorable than most, filled with exhilarating sounds and encounters with some of the music’s most iconic legends.

On REFLECTIONS, Foster revisits the work of several of those peers alongside an inspiring quintet of all-stars: Nicholas Payton, Chris Potter, Kevin Hays, and Vicente Archer.

Throughout the session he propels this supremely talented unit through fresh, vital treatments of well-known and less-traveled numbers by iconic legends Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Sonny Rollins, and McCoy Tyner, all of whom regarded Foster as their first-call drummer for long portions of his celebrated career – at times competing for his services. Band members Payton, Potter, and Hays each contribute a tune apiece, while Foster penned three well-wrought songs, including two homages to Thelonious Monk that bookend the program.

It’s hard to overstate Foster’s contribution to the musical production of the aforementioned giants over his 60 years as a professional. But, as much as Foster likes to wax nostalgic about the past, it’s also evident on every note of this 68-minute gem that he’s fully committed to living in the moment and playing in the here and now. This follow-up to his well-received 2019 Smoke Sessions debut, INSPIRATIONS & DEDICATIONS, is Foster’s fifth leader recording and, as even the notoriously self-critical drummer surprisingly says, “It is my best record yet.”

1. T.S. Monk (6:21)
2. Pent-Up House (5:05)
3. Open Plans (7:18)
4. Blues on the Corner (6:23)
5. Anastasia (5:33)
6. Six (8:21)
7. Punjab (5:12)
8. Beat (6:57)
9. Alone and I (4:52)
10. Half Nelson (5:36)
11. Monk’s Bossa (6:19)

Al Foster – drums
Nicholas Payton – trumpet
Chris Potter – tenor and soprano saxophone
Kevin Hays – piano and Fender Rhodes
Vicente Archer – bass

Al Foster

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