World-class musician to perform with Eastman Jazz Ensemble

November 17, 2005

More Information:
Eastman Office of Communications, 585-274-1050

Rochester, NY — World-renowned drummer Peter Erskine will visit the Eastman School of Music from November 28th through the 30th. His stay will include three sessions with the Eastman Jazz Ensemble, followed by an 8 p.m. concert in Kilbourn Hall on Wednesday, November 30.

This is Erskine’s second trip to Eastman (first in 1998), but it won’t be his last if Eastman Professor of Jazz Studies & Contemporary Media Bill Dobbins has anything to say about it.

“Peter was a guest drummer probably 15 times during the eight years I directed the West German Radio Band (WDR Big Band) in Cologne, Germany,” says Dobbins. “I think he’s one of the most talented, versatile and creative drummers on the jazz scene today.”

Erskine is featured on Prism: The WDR Big Band Plays the Music of Bill Dobbins and Peter Erskine (Advance Music), and Dobbins returned the favor by recording Cologne with Erskine on the drummer’s own Fuzzy Music label.

“He seems to enjoy my writing and what I do with his tunes, and I thoroughly enjoy it too,” says Dobbins, who also directs the Eastman Jazz Ensemble. The November 30th concert will feature many of Dobbins’ arrangements of Erskine’s music, including the world premiere of Dobbins’ take on an Erskine original called Plan 9.

Erskine may be best known for his four years with the legendary, Grammy-winning jazz group Weather Report. The partnership between Erskine and the late bassist Jaco Pastorius was an integral part of that group’s success. But Erskine went on to tour and record more than 400 albums with a veritable Who’s Who of pop, jazz and orchestral music, including Steely Dan, Diana Krall, Chick Corea, Joni Mitchell and Steps Ahead. He’s also recorded 12 solo albums, and won awards for his original scores for theatre and dance. He’s a respected teacher and author of instructional drum books, and has won the Modern Drummer Magazine Reader’s Poll in the Mainstream Jazz Drummer category seven times.

“I think Peter will inspire our students’ own creativity and versatility,” says Dobbins. “I also think he’ll be able to give a lot of insight into making a living in the contemporary music world.”

Tickets to the Eastman Jazz Ensemble with guest drummer Peter Erskine and director Bill Dobbins on Wednesday, November 30 at 8 p.m. in Kilbourn Hall are $8 (free to UR ID holders). They’re available at the RPO Box Office (108 East Avenue), by phone at 454-2100, online at www.rochester.edu/concerts or at any Rochester-area Wegmans Video Department. Any unsold seats go on sale one hour before concert time at Kilbourn Hall Box Office.

Note : photos of Peter Erskine are available electronically at www.petererskine.com. Interviews and photo/footage opportunities can be arranged as well.