JJ 04/83: Peter Erskine – Peter Erskine

Forty years ago, Mark Gilbert enjoyed the drummer's mix of bop, Latin and acoustic fusion, a stylistic departure from his Weather Report work. First published in Jazz Journal April 1983


This is a charming and powerful album from Weather Report’s drummer. It is not, as might be ex­pected, jazz rock, but shows Erskine in a ‘purer’ jazz light. Perhaps you could call it fusion – there’s a lot happening there, from hard bop to Latin American – but since it isn’t particularly electric, maybe it’s just jazz.

Mostly it’s about having a good blow over a cooking rhythm section. Outstanding points in the rhythm section include incisive walking bass during the fast passage on ESP and popping conga playing throughout. The latter always adds extra spice to bop rhythm.

Most of the horn solos are taken by Bob Mintzer, who plays also with Stone Alliance. One is frequently re­minded of this band during the album. Mintzer’s style is similar to, but harder than, that of Michael Brecker, who solos on All’s Well.

One person was forgotten in awarding rhythm section honours: the leader’s ego is controlled throughout, his drumming subtly supportive. His nominal leadership is given substance on In Statu Nascendi which is one of the finest and most sensitive drum solos I’ve heard – Billy Cobham take note.

Leroy Street; In Statu Nascendi; ESP; Change Of Mind (19.27) – All’s Well That Ends; My Ship; Coyote Blues (21.26)
Don Alias (cga); Michael Brecker, Bob Mintzer (reeds); Randy Brecker (t/flh); Peter Erskine (d/pc/OBX); Kenny Kirkland, Don Grolnick (kyb); Mike Mainieri (vib): Eddie Gomez (b). NYC, June 1982.
(Contemporary 14010)