One of the first important bassists (along with Steve Brown, Bill Johnson, and Wellman Braud), Pops Foster had the longest career and he kept the tradition of slap bass solos alive into the late '60s. Foster was playing in bands around New Orleans as early as 1906. He played tuba with Fate Marable's group on riverboats (1918-1921) and was with Kid Ory's band in California. Foster was in St. Louis in the mid-'20s, working with Charlie Creath and Dewey Jackson. After he arrived in New York in 1928, Foster played with King Oliver and then joined the great Luis Russell Orchestra, where his thumping bass really propelled the ensembles. Foster stayed with Russell during the long period (1935-1940) when the orchestra was really the backup group for Louis Armstrong. After that stint ended, Foster was in demand during the New Orleans revival period, freelancing with many bands, including Art Hodes, Mezz Mezzrow, Sidney Bechet (1945), and Bob Wilber. He toured Europe with Sammy Price during 1955-1956, played with Earl Hines in San Francisco (1956-1961), and then spent 1963-1964 with Elmer Snowden's trio. He also wrote his autobiography, which was published posthumously in 1971.
- by Scott Yanow
All Music Group