Al Foster is one of the most celebrated drummers in modern jazz, having worked as a sideman with a who's who of artists, including Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner and Joe Henderson. Recorded in April 2007 at the Village Vanguard in New York City, Love, Peace and Jazz! finds the veteran Foster leading a free-wheeling quartet with saxophonist Eli Degibri, pianist Kevin Hays and bassist Douglas Weiss.
Throughout the disc, Foster, the elder statesmen, sits front-and-center, nudging his younger crew along, inspiring open-ended communication between soloists. Degibri, who switches between tenor and soprano saxophone, rides the crest of Foster's rhythmic wave to produce flowing, energized solos, most notably on Wayne Shorter's "E.S.P." and Foster's "Brandyn." Hays's punctuated, single-note lines on Blue Mitchell's "Fungii Mama" are inventive and complementary to Weiss' in-the-pocket pulse. Whether swinging or emphasizing various Latin grooves, the bassist is in-step with Foster through every spontaneous shift in feel.
One of the more memorable moments of the recording is Foster's three-minute drum introduction to "Brandyn." The melodic interest sustained during the solo is nothing short of astonishing.
The momentum never lets up on this exceptional live set. Foster proves himself a sympathetic, yet powerful leader who cuts to the chase, bringing out the very best in his band by fostering a communal spirit.
The Chief; E.S.P.; Blue in Green; Peter's Mood; Brandyn; Fungii Mama.
Al Foster: drums; Kevin Hays: piano; Douglas Weiss: double bass; Eli Degibri: saxophones.