George Foster, popularly known as Pops Foster, was a jazz musician for more than 70 years. Foster played both tuba and string bass, but is recognized for solidifying the predominance of string bass in jazz music.Foster was known for his musical imagination and his unique bass slapping technique, which was later copied by other popular musicians. Foster performed and recorded with some of the biggest names in jazz musical history, and had one of the longest and most prolific careers of the jazz musicians of his era.
George Murphy Foster was born on May 19, 1892, on a plantation in Louisiana. Music was a central part of Foster's childhood. When George Foster was seven years old he began playing in a family band. The Fosters played at dances around the plantation. After school they would all do their homework and then practice music.
In 1902 the family moved to New Orleans. New Orleans was filled with music when ten-year-old George Foster arrived. Foster continued to play in local bands and develop his skills. He went to school at New Orleans University, but did not do well academically because he focused all of his attention on music. He dropped out of school in the fifth grade to take his first professional job with the Munson People at Audubon Place, performing at lawn parties and fish fries. In 1906 he became a regular for the Rozelle Band, which was founded by his brother, Willie. It was Willie who bought the young George his first real bass instrument.