Full Name: Vernel Anthony Fournier

Description: Drummer, USA

Known For: One of the most famous of all modern jazz trios

Instruments: Drums

Music Styles: Jazz

Date Born: 30th July 1928
Location Born: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

Date Died: November 2000
Location Died: Jackson, Michigan, United States of America
Cause Of Death: Cerebral haemorrhage

Memorial: He moved to Mississippi in 1998, where he died from a cerebral haemorrhage.

Web Site:   Profile at drummerworld.com

Other Links: See below:



Vernel Fournier

Vernel Anthony Fournier (July 30, 1928 – November 4, 2000[1]) and, from 1975, known as Amir Rushdan, was a jazz drummer probably best known for his work with Ahmad Jamal from 1956 to 1962.

Fournier was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, into a Creole family. He left college to join a big band led by King Kolax. After Kolax downsized to a quintet, Fournier moved to Chicago in 1948,[2] where he played with such musicians as Buster Bennett, Paul Bascomb and Teddy Wilson. As house drummer at the Bee Hive club on Chicago’s South Side in 1953-55, he accompanied many visiting soloists, including Lester Young, Ben Webster, Sonny Stitt, J.J. Johnson, Earl Washington and Stan Getz.[1]

From 1953 to 1956, Fournier also worked many recording sessions with Al Smith, Red Holloway, Lefty Bates, and others. He joined Ahmad Jamal’s trio in 1957, along with bass player Israel Crosby, and remained with the group until 1962, appearing on a series of recordings for the Chess label. The best known of these, At the Pershing: But Not for Me (1958), became one of the best selling jazz records of all time, remaining on the Billboard jazz charts for over two years.

After leaving the Jamal trio, Fournier joined George Shearing for two years before rejoining Jamal briefly in 1965-66. He then took a long-running gig with a trio at a restaurant owned by Elijah Muhammad.

He converted to Islam in 1975, and took the Muslim name of Amir Rushdan.

He worked with Nancy Wilson, Clifford Jordan, Billy Eckstine and Joe Williams, John Lewis and Barry Harris. Fournier was also a teacher of drumming, working at Barry Harris’s Jazz Cultural Theater, the New School, and the Mannes College of Music.

A stroke in 1994 made him a wheelchair user and unable to play drums, but he continued his teaching activities. He died from a cerebral hemorrhage in Jackson, Mississippi, in 2000.

Fournier has worked with the likes of:

Lester Young
Ben Webster
Sonny Stitt
Ahmad Jamal
George Shearing
Billy Eckstine

In the 1960s, Fournier moved to New York where he performed and taught jazz for about 30 years, until a debilitating stroke in 1994 damaged his spine and left him unable to play.

Vernel Fournier died at the age of 72.


With Gary Burton
3 in Jazz (RCA, 1963)

With Ahmad Jamal
At the Pershing: But Not for Me (Argo, 1958)
Jamal at the Penthouse (Argo, 1959)
Happy Moods (Argo, 1960)
Listen to the Ahmad Jamal Quintet (Argo, 1960)
Ahmad Jamal’s Alhambra (Argo, 1961)
All of You (Argo, 1961)
Ahmad Jamal at the Blackhawk (Argo, 1962)
Poinciana (Argo, 1963)
Extensions (Argo, 1965)
Rhapsody (Cadet, 1965)

With Sam Jones
Down Home (Riverside, 1962)

With Clifford Jordan
Repetition (Soul Note, 1984)
Royal Ballads (Criss Cross Jazz, 1986)

With Jimmy Reed
“Ain’t That Lovin’ You, Baby” (Vee-Jay, 1953)

With George Shearing
Mood Latino (Capitol, 1961)
The Swingin’s Mutual! (Capitol, 1961) – with Nancy Wilson

With Frank Strozier
Cloudy and Cool (Vee Jay, 1960) – with Billy Wallace and Bill Lee