Modern Jazz Solos for Drum Set, Episode 1: Foster's Fare

Modern Jazz Solos for Drum Set:
Lesson Series with Rich Thompson

Episode 1: "Foster's Fare"

We're excited to present the first episode in a series of "Jazz Solos for Drum Set" lessons with Rich Thompson, Associate Professor of Jazz Studies, Contemporary Media and Drum Set Instructor at the Eastman School of Music.  In each of these lessons, Rich will perform a solo from his books, "Jazz Solos for Drum Set" and "Modern Jazz Solos for Drum Set" which features the musical styles of legendary Jazz drummers throughout history. In each lesson, Rich shares his insights into the background of the artist, lists essential recordings and dives into the details of the solo to help you understand the context and stylistic approach of each drumming master.


In our first episode, Rich performs and breaks down "Foster's Fare", a solo dedicated to Al Foster.  We hope you'll enjoy learning from working with this solo!


from "Modern Jazz Solos for Drum Set" by Rich Thompson

Foster's Fare PDF


ABOUT THE MUSIC (excerpted from "Modern Jazz Solos for Drum Set")


Foster's Fare - dedicated to Al Foster


Al Foster was born in 1944 in Richmond, VA, but was raised in New York City. He taught himself to play drums at the age of 13. Just three years later, he recorded one of my favorite drum solos with trumpeter Blue Mitchell on the album "The Thing To Do" - led by Mitchell. The tune hailing this calypso based solo was entitled "Fungii Mama."


Al Foster was discovered at the age of 23 by Miles Davis in New York City at the Cellar Club where he was performing with the Earl May quartet. Davis said, "I replaced Jack DeJohnette on the drums with Al foster, who I first heard at the Cellar Club on 95th Street in Manhattan. He knocked me out 'cause 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 keep the groove going forever. For what I wanted in a drummer - Al Foster had it all."


After replacing DeJohnette, Foster played on every Miles Davis recording until 1985 when he left the group to work as an independent artist with such jazz luminaries as Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Charlie Haden and Herbie Hancock. I listened and watched Al Foster perform with Joe Henderson in Boston (MA) at the Regatta Bar in the mid '90's. I was inspired to practice for six months afterward, and I still draw inspiration and insight from his intuitive ability and refined musicality.


     - Rich Thompson

Check out the original recording of "Fungii Mama":

Modern Jazz Solos for Drum Set

by Rich Thompson

Modern Jazz Solos for Drum Set was written by Rich Thompson to supplement the solo literature available to high school and college drum set players. Each solo pays homage to a famous jazz drummer. A full performance CD includes all the tunes in the book and will enable students to have immediate feedback as well as a chance to play along with each solo. Short biographies with suggested listening examples have been included for each piece.


Collection Contains: Foster's Fare; Roy's Ruse; Adam's Air; Puttin' It On; Sum Of Bill; Joey's Bet; Brian's Bop; Jack's Journey; Gadd's Groove; Cobb's Cadence


Rich Thompson has been in demand as a top call drummer in Rochester for the past 25 years. Besides serving as the drum set instructor at the Eastman School of Music since the fall of 1996, Rich has toured, performed, and recorded with the “who’s who” of jazz greats including pianist James Williams (Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers), The Count Basie Orchestra, Tito Puente, Frank Foster, The Byron Stripling Quartet, saxophonist Rich Perry, the Bill Dobbins Trio, Harold Danko, Marion McPartland, Trio East (which includes Clay Jenkins and Jeff Campbell), trumpeter Snooky Young, guitarist Gene Bertoncini, Carl Fontana, Phil Woods, Joe Pass, and a host of others too numerous to mention. The Boston Globe cited Rich as “the drummer who drove the Basie sound” when he appeared with them at the Boston Jazz and Blues Festival.


Rich has been touring this country and abroad with the Byron Stripling Quartet for the past five years. His new CD entitled “Trio Generations” was released in May of 2012 on Origin Records. It was included on the long list for two Grammys. His new CD entitled “Less is More” was recorded with trumpet sensation Terell Stafford, pianist Gary Versace, and bassist Jeff Campbell and was released in March of 2013 on Origin Records also. In 2016 Rich recorded “Have Trumpet Will Swing” w/the Bryon Stripling Quartet and in 2017 “I Believe in You” by the group Triocity was released. Triocity features multi-saxophonist/reedman Charles Pillow and bassist Jeff Campbell.


Rich performs regularly with numerous symphonies in the U.S. and Canada, the world renowned “Jazz Cruise” and clubs throughout the U.S. and Europe with the Byron Stripling Quartet. His clinics and performances have taken him as far as France, Thailand, Japan, Switzerland and Newfoundland. Rich has written four drum set books published by Kendor Music USA and Advance/Schott Music-Germany. Visit Rich on his website to listen to clips or watch a video of his trio at the Rochester International Jazz Festival.