Al Foster: The Chief


The Chief


Al Foster (drums)


Love, Peace and Jazz (Jazz Eyes 004)

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Al Foster (drums),

Eli Degibri (saxes), Kevin Hayes (piano), Douglas Weiss (bass)


Composed by Al Foster


Recorded: live at the Village Vanguard, New York, April 27-28, 2007


Rating: 91/100 (learn more)

Starting with an almost Middle Eastern feel to the lead-in melody line, Al Foster's composition "The Chief" fully exposes the talents of his formidable quartet. The tasteful Kevin Hayes plays a captivating solo to begin this gem of a tune. His harmonic inventions are inspired, and he has one of those sounds that draw you in. Hayes is a master storyteller on the keys, weaving an interesting mood with his use of carefully executed runs. Eli Degibri plays soprano sax with invigorating zest, his tone accentuating the tune's exotic and nomadic feel. Driven by a crescendo-building Foster, Hayes and Weiss, Degibri whips up a frenzied display of passion complete with requisite moans between breaths. Foster subtly mixes things up and, when appropriate, quickens the driving tempo to stir the pot, adding dashes of crashing cymbals or pinches of punctuated snares to bring this musical stew to a boil. The crowd is obviously pleased by the exuberant display of musical camaraderie, and the musicians are in turn driven to ecstatic heights to please their receivers. This recording well captures the inspired playing and gratifying responses from a grateful audience. It's good to see the veteran Foster leading his own group and making meaningful compositional contributions to the art. You go, Al!

Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello

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