George Foster

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Not to be confused with the multi-instrumentalist George "Pops" Foster, this George Foster is a drummer who happens to enjoy the same style of playing as his more famous name-alike. Fans of…
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Not to be confused with the multi-instrumentalist George "Pops" Foster, this George Foster is a drummer who happens to enjoy the same style of playing as his more famous name-alike. Fans of the Dixieland style in the late '50s and early '60s probably heard this drummer backing up trumpeter Jonah Jones, but his affiliations also included Wilbur DeParis, Lil Armstrong, and Julian Dash. He started drumming in junior high school and did his first gigs in the early '30s backing up pianist Beverly Peer, who later switched to bass.

During the '30s, Foster's base was New York City. He joined a band organized by Ray Parker at the Harlem Opera House in 1935 and in the next few years toured and recorded with Fess Williams and Armstrong. Foster is credited on several Claude Hopkins sides from this period, but jazz biographer John Chilton claims this is an error. Through the end of the decade the drummer was primarily featured with Ovie Alston's group. During the second World War he was rising early to practice with the National Guard Regimental Band but was certainly keeping later hours in the mid-'50s when banging out a beat for DeParis. Jones heard him in this context and put the drummer in his own band from 1958 through 1961. After that, Foster continued nibbling on the Big Apple's freelance opportunities.