Not All Big Bands Are Created Equal – Peter Erskine

Peter Erskine is the drummer on “For The Moment” by the Bob Mintzer Big Band, a Brazilian inspired big band recording, done live at Pittsburgh’s Manchester Craftsman’s Guild. For more Bob:

Peter Erskine was born in Somers Point, New Jersey, U.S.. He began playing the drums at the age of four. He graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy[1] in Michigan, then studied percussion at Indiana University.
His professional career started in 1972 when he joined the Stan Kenton Orchestra.[1] After three years with Kenton he joined Maynard Ferguson for two years. In 1978 he joined Weather Report,[1][2] joining the legendary Jaco Pastorius to form a formidable rhythm section. After four years and five albums with Weather Report and the Jaco Pastorius big band Word of Mouth, he joined Steps Ahead. His big band recordings with the Bob Mintzer Big Band are excellent modern big band jazz/funk performances studied by many students of drums and drumming.

His music-style spanning talent also features on Kate Bush’s 2005 album Aerial, where Erskine teams with bass player Eberhard Weber. Diana Krall, Eliane Elias, Queen Latifah and Linda Ronstadt among many more still choose Peter for his multifaceted musicality. Even Scottish and Finnish Classical Orchestras have had him as a featured musician.

His playing style is characterized by a thorough dedication to time-keeping and swing, a great dynamic spectrum and an ability to play several styles of music very sensitively. These qualities may be the reason for his very wide use as a session drummer in musical settings of great variety. Hence he could also be labeled as an “all-around drummer”, in terms of musical styles he is capable of playing with skill.

As a jazz drummer, his dedication to timekeeping makes his jazz playing sound quite modern, as he does not tend to play with “flexible” timekeeping as do most traditionalist jazz drummers. It remains a matter of personal opinion to be discussed whether he has thus brought jazz into the modern era of perfect timekeeping (a reference here is made to drum machines and electronic music with flawless metronomical timekeeping of today), or whether he diverges from traditional jazz drumming.

Today, Erskine splits his time as a musician and that of a professor at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California.

Posted on 16 de enero de 2020

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