Peter Erskine Cyber Interview
I was very lucky to have a chance to ask
some questions to Peter Erskine, one of the greatest drumer and artists in the world,
who played with Weather Report, Steps Ahead, Jaco Pastorius' Word of Mouth and many
other great sessions.
This interview was conducted via E-mail. Questions were sent
to Peter in July'96 during his Europe tour of his own trio and he answered in August after returning home from Japan
where he played with Micheal Brecker and John Abercrombie.
Peter also provided his own photo from his own home page.
Please enjoy world premier cyber interview!
(Maybe I should have asked Peter to provide some sound file to go with this page too.)
- Masato Hashi -
OK, let's start cyber interview. Please tell us about your recent tour to Japan.
I was very happy to be part of Michael Brecker's band for the "Live by the Lake"
concert held at Kawaguchiko (near Mt. Fuji) at the beginning of this month. The
other members of this quartet for this concert were (in addition to Michael
Brecker on tenor sax) Joey Calderazzo on piano and Dennis Irwin on bass. John
Scofield sat in on guitar for one tune.
I also played with John Abercrombie (guitar) and Marc Johnson (bass) in concert.
Both concerts were a "warm-up" for the Herbie Hancock 'New Standards' group
(with Brecker, Scofield, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, and Don Alias). We all
had a wonderful time in Japan ... it is my favorite place in the world!
Will you tell us about your European tour you did before you went to Japan?
THE MOST RECENT TOUR OF EUROPE WAS WITH MY TRIO, KNOWN AS THE 'ECM TRIO,' WITH
BRITISH PIANIST JOHN TAYLOR, AND SWEDISH BASS PLAYER PALLE DANIELSSON. WE TOURED
FOR A PERIOD OF THREE WEEKS, PLAYING IN AUSTRIA, SWITZERLAND, FRANCE, GERMANY,
MALTA AND ITALY.
You used to be known as an electric Jazz drumer by your
work with Weather Report, Jaco and Steps Ahead. But your
recent albums seem very accoustic.
Do you like accoustic Jazz better than electric Jazz now?
YES, I PREFER THE DYNAMIC REALM OF ACOUSTIC JAZZ, AS WELL AS THE TIMBRAL AND
TEXTURAL QUALITIES AND POSSIBILITIES THIS MUSIC OFFERS.
You wrote liner notes in recent Paco Pastorius's Birthday
Concert album which I think is one of the greatest
album in Jazz Fusion history.
Will you tell us any story about the album?
Were there any other songs you played in the concert
which were not included in the CD?
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE KIND WORDS ... I AM VERY HAPPY THAT THE RECORDING
WAS ABLE TO SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY. I BELIEVE THAT ALL OF THE STORIES THAT I COULD
TELL/INFO ABOUT THE EVENT AND THE RECORDING ARE CONTAINED IN THE LINER NOTES I
WROTE WHICH ACCOMPANY THE CD.
You were a member of Steely Dan 1993 tour band. How did you
like Steely Dan?
I ENJOYED WORKING WITH WALTER BECKER AND DONALD FAGEN VERY MUCH ... ADMITTEDLY,
IT'S A BIT OUTSIDE OF THE REALM OF THINGS I NORMALLY DO NOWADAYS, AND THAT'S
PART OF WHAT MADE IT SO INTERESTING AND FUN. IT WAS AN HONOR TO BE ASKED TO DO
THAT FIRST TOUR IN 1993 (I ALSO PLAYED WITH THEM IN THE FALL OF 1995, DOING THE
DAVID LETTERMAN 'LATE NIGHT' SHOW).
LAST SUMMER, I HAD EVEN MORE FUN WORKING WITH SINGER BOZ SCAGGS.
I found you live in Southern California in your home page.
I thought New York is more active in Jazz and better for
Jazz musicians like you. What is the reason to have chosen
to live in California rather than New York?
I LIVE IN SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA, PRIMARILY FOR PERSONAL REASONS (WITH MY
FAMILY). THERE ARE GREAT OPPORTUNITIES FOR MUSIC-MAKING HERE IN LOS ANGELES ...
BUT I WOULD AGREE, NEW YORK IS THE MUSIC CAPITOL OF THE WORLD.
You are one of a few top class musicians who operate own
home page on Internet. What do you think about relationship
between your music and such technology and multimedia.
THAT REMAINS TO BE SEEN ... BUT IT IS THE NEW WAY OF COMMUNICATING, AND
HOPEFULLY WILL LEAD TO MORE PEOPLE BECOMING AWARE OF MY WORK. ALSO, IT ENABLES
ME TO COMMUNICATE DIRECTLY WITH MY FANS AND LISTENERS.
You've been involved in many of the greatest Jazz Fusion
recordings. Will you pick your 3 favorite albums out
of your recordings?
3 FAVORITE 'JAZZ-FUSION' RECORDINGS? LET'S SEE ... I GUESS THAT "8:30" (WEATHER
REPORT), "MODERN TIMES" (STEPS AHEAD) AND "WORD OF MOUTH" (JACO PASTORIUS) WOULD
BE UP THERE ... I'M ALSO QUITE PROUD AND FOND OF MY WORK ON ECM (JOHN
ABERCROMBIE, BASS DESIRES, 'STAR' WITH JAN GARBAREK & MIROSLAV VITOUS, AS WELL
AS MY OWN RECORDINGS ("YOU NEVER KNOW,' "TIME BEING," AND "AS IT IS.") ... I
ALSO LIKE THE VINCE MENDOZA RECORDINGS, MIKE MAINIERI ('AMERICAN DIARY'), THE
RECORDINGS MADE WITH DON GROLNICK, THE BOB MINTZER BIG BAND, ETC.
Supposing you can form your dream band regardless of budget,
schedule and even dead or alive, who do you pick?
TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH, I WOULD PICK JOHN TAYLOR AND PALLE DANIELSSON!
What do you think about future of contemporary Jazz Fusion
IF IT LEARNS TO GET MORE SPACE AND DYNAMICS INTO IT, I'M OPEN TO IT ... BUT TOO
MUCH OF IT IS EITHER TOO LOUD, TOO 'NOTEY,' OR TRYING TOO HARD TO GET HEARD ON
THE RADIO ... I DON'T MEAN TOO SOUND TOO HARSH IN MY OPINION ABOUT FUSION MUSIC;
IT HAS WONDERFUL POSSIBILITIES, AND IT HAS BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR MUCH OF MY
SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS IN MUSIC ...
Will you tell us your future tour and recording plan?
MY TRIO WILL BE GOING INTO THE STUDIO IN OSLO, NORWAY FOR OUR NEXT ECM RECORDING
IN FEBRUARY 1997. WE WILL TOUR AFTER THAT, HOPEFULLY IN THE USA, JAPAN, AND
AUSTRALIA, AS WELL AS EUROPE!
I AM ALSO WRITING MUSIC FOR A JAPANESE MANGA/ANIMATION ("GUN SMITH CATS"),
PRODUCING (AN INTERESTING FUSION PROJECT WHICH APPEARED ON THE BMG-NOVUS LABEL
OF YOUNG MUSICIANS ANAND BENNETT AND DANTE PASCUZZO, TITLED "HOMEGROWN" ... WE
DID A VERSION OF JACO'S 'JOHN AND MARY,' FEATURING THOSE TWO MUSICIANS, PLUS
MYSELF, ALEX ACUNA, JOHN PATITUCCI, ALAN PASQUA AND A STRING QUARTET ... IT'S A
COOL RECORDING WHICH NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE HAVE HEARD (OTHER MUSICIANS INCLUDE ZAKIR
HUSSAIN AND ACOUSTIC BASSIST DAVE CARPENTER [ON JACO'S 'THREE VIEWS OF A
SECRET']): NOVUS-J, #BVCP-886.
AND AS ALWAYS, STILL TRYING TO BE DADDY TO MY TWO KIDS AND MR. HUSBAND TO MY
WONDERFUL WIFE, MUTSUKO.
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Last update Aug21,1996