Jan 16, 2016
For those of you who are fans of seminal fusion groups like Weather Report and Steps Ahead, the drumming of Peter Erskine is well ingrained in your musical memory. Erskine moved away from that louder, more frenetic music years ago, becoming a more accomplished jazz drummer, and then beginning a career in film scores, education and musical application development as his interests in music in general grew.
For those who needed a prescription for his old music, let me declare firmly - the doctor will see you now.
Dr.Um (read it slowly and you'll get the wordplay) is his latest CD, a plugged-in delight that is sitting on top of the Amazon.com Jazz CD charts as I write this posting. Why did Peter return to his fusion background after all this time? Maybe it was all the time he spent immersed in Weather Report lore and music in 2015, having worked on the Jaco Pastorius documentary and the Weather Report box set The Legendary Live Tapes 1978-1981. Regardless of the reason, the CD is a joy, satisfying both the nostalgia of older fans with the sense of exploration and discovery a new generation of music fans should feel with each listen.
Erskine's discography is approaching 700 albums at this point, so he has nothing to prove. Yet there is a spirit of joy that permeates Dr. Um, of an artist shining a light on music he wants to share, not afraid to not take himself too seriously, and work with old and new musical friends on a project.
Podcast 517 is my conversation with Peter Erskine, as he discusses the new CD, spins tales of Weather Report, and talks about the rise of music apps. Musical selections include three tracks from Dr. Um, Joe Zawinul's "Bourges Buenos Aires", Erskine's "Hawaiian Bathing Suit" and a radically re-arranged version of Vince Mendoza's "Sprite"; plus Weather Report's "Fast City" from The Legendary Live Tapes 1978-1981.