Peter Erskine – WUSF All Night Jazz Focus Artist of the Week
This week on All Night Jazz, we’ll focus on drummer Peter Erskine.
Born June 5, 1954 in New Jersey, Erskine attended Indiana University, one of the nation’s top schools for jazz, before getting his professional start with the Stan Kenton Orchestra in 1972.
Four years later he joined trumpeter Maynard Ferguson’s big band before being tapped as drummer for the popular jazz fusion group, Weather Report, led by saxophonist Wayne Shorter and keyboard wizard Joe Zawinul. His Grammy winning tenure with Weather Report overlapped with that of bass virtuoso Jaco Pastorius, and the two worked together post Weather Report in Jaco’s big band.
Erskine was also a co-founder of another seminal fusion group, Steps Ahead, with Michael Brecker.
He’s still a go-to drummer who has appeared on over 700 recordings including works by Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush, Steely Dan as well as jazz stalwarts Pat Metheny, Joe Henderson, Gary Burton and more. He’s a two time Grammy winner with 8 nominations. His current working band, Dr. Um, featuring Bob Shepard and John Beasley, specializes in adding a modern twist to the Weather Report sound.
We’ll hear the distinctive rhythms of Peter Erskine, all week long on All Night Jazz.