passion for jazz began when, as a pre-adolescent, he was exposed
to swing and bebop by his father.
Unlike Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Joe Sample and
other electric keyboard greats, Coster didn't start out on the
acoustic piano, he first played jazz on an unlikely instrument:
the accordion. Learning the electric Hammond organ in the 1960's
led to his use of electric keyboards. Playing organ and/or
keyboards, the Bay Area resident played jazz with Roland Kirk and
Roy Haynes and rock with Janis Joplin and The Electric Flag
before beginning an eight-year association with Santana as both a
musician and a composer in the early '70s on the classic
"Caravanserai". By the time he left Santana in 1978,
Coster had contributed to such acclaimed albums as Lotus, Welcome,
Festival, Moonflower and Amigos and had
written or co-written celebrated pieces like "Dance Sister
Dance", "Flor d'Luna" and the haunting
Coster rejoined Santana in 1983
and 1986 before joining Steve Smith & Vital Information and recording four albums
with the adventurous fusion unit.
Tom Coster recorded seven albums
under his name and the most recent one is The Forbidden Zone
(JVC Records) featuring among the others Scott Henderson, Bob Berg, Jeff Andrews, Alphonso Johnson and Dennis Chambers.