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Peter Erskine

Peter Erskine
Peter Erskine & Michel Benita
Background information
Birth name Peter Erskine
Born (1954-06-05) June 5, 1954
Somers Point, New Jersey United States
Origin Somers Point, New Jersey, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Drummer, composer
Instruments Drums, percussion
Years active 1972–present
Associated acts Stan Kenton Orchestra, Weather Report, Word of Mouth, Steely Dan, Maynard Ferguson, Kate Bush, Diana Krall, Eliane Elias, Queen Latifah, Linda Ronstadt
Website .com.petererskinewww

Peter Erskine (born June 5, 1954) is an American jazz drummer and composer living in Los Angeles who has been a session drummer, recording and touring with many famous jazz and rock artists, including Steely Dan, Weather Report, Steps Ahead and Kate Bush. Erskine also produces teaching materials, such as books, videos, and online content.


  • Biography 1
  • Discography 2
    • As leader 2.1
    • As sideman 2.2
  • Books 3
  • DVD 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Erskine was born in Somers Point, New Jersey, U.S.[1] He began playing the drums at the age of four. He graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy[2] in Michigan, then studied percussion at Indiana University.

His professional career started in 1972 when he joined the Stan Kenton Orchestra.[2] After three years with Kenton he joined Maynard Ferguson for two years. In 1978 he joined Weather Report,[2][3] joining Jaco Pastorius in the rhythm section. After four years and five albums with Weather Report and the Jaco Pastorius big band Word of Mouth, he joined Steps Ahead. His big band recordings with the Bob Mintzer Big Band are modern big band jazz/funk performances studied by many students of drums and drumming.

He was featured on Kate Bush's 2005 album Aerial, where Erskine teamed with bass player Eberhard Weber. Diana Krall, Eliane Elias, Queen Latifah and Linda Ronstadt, as well as Scottish and Finnish Classical Orchestras, have had Erskine perform as a featured musician.

Erskine splits his time as a musician and that of a professor at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California.

In 1983, he performed on the Antilles Records release Swingrass '83.[4]

In 2011 he appeared on stage at the Royal Opera House, London in the new opera Anna Nicole. [5]


Wayne Shorter, (left) and Peter Erskine (right) performing with Weather Report (1981)

As leader

  • 1982 Peter Erskine (Contemporary)
  • 1987 Transition (Denon)
  • 1988 Motion Poet (Denon)
  • 1989 Aurora (Denon)
  • 1990 Big Theatre (Ah Um)
  • 1991 Sweet Soul (Novus, reissued on Fuzzy Music)
  • 1992 You Never Know (ECM)
  • 1993 Time Being (ECM)
  • 1994 History of the Drum (Interworld)
  • 1995 As It Is (ECM)
  • 1995 From Kenton to Now (w/ Richard Torres) (Fuzzy Music)
  • 1998 Lava Jazz (Fuzzy Music)
  • 1998 Behind Closed Doors, Vol. 1 (Fuzzy Music)
  • 1998 Juni (ECM)
  • 2000 Live at Rocco (Fuzzy Music)
  • 2002 Badlands (Fuzzy Music)
  • 2003 Cologne (w/ Bill Dobbins and John Goldsby) (Fuzzy Music)
  • 2005 The Lounge Art Ensemble: Music for Moderns (Fuzzy Music)

As sideman

With John Abercrombie

With Warren Bernhardt

  • Warren Bernhardt Trio (1983)

With Randy Brecker/Michael Brecker

  • Some Skunk Funk (2005)

With Gary Burton

With Kate Bush

With George Cables

With Pino Daniele

  • Passi d'autore (2004)

With Eddie Daniels

  • Benny Rides Again (1992)

With Al Di Meola

  • Orange and Blue (1994)
  • The Infinite Desire (1998)

With Yelena Eckemoff

  • Cold Sun (L & H Production, 2010)
  • Flying Steps (L & H Production, 2010)
  • Glass Song (L & H Production, 2013)

With Marty Ehrlich

  • Relativity (1999)

With Eliane Elias

With Joe Farrell

With Maynard Ferguson

  • Conquistador (1977)
  • New Vintage (1977)
  • Carnival (1978)

With Alessandro Galati

  • Jason Salad! (1997)

With Jan Garbarek

With Giorgio

  • Party of the Century (2010)

With Gordon Goodwin

  • Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band XXL (2003)

With Don Grolnick

  • Hearts and Numbers (1985)
  • Weaver of Dreams (1990)

With Joe Henderson

With Bobby Hutcherson

With Marc Johnson

With Rickie Lee Jones

With Stan Kenton

  • National Anthems of the World (1972)
  • Birthday in Britain (1973)
  • 7.5 on the Richter Scale (1973)
  • Stan Kenton plays Chicago (1974)
  • Fire, Fury, and Fun (1974)

With Diana Krall

With Rolf Kühn

  • Internal Eyes (2003)

With Christof Lauer

  • Christof Lauer (1989)

With Nguyên Lê

  • Miracles (1996)
  • E_L_B (2004)
  • E_L_B - Dream Flight (2008)

With Manhattan Jazz Quintet

  • Funky Strut (1991)

With Mike Mainieri

  • American Diary (1994)

With Vince Mendoza

  • Start Here (1990)
  • Jazzpaña (1992)
  • Sketches (1993)

With Bob Mintzer

  • Incredible Journey (1985)
  • Camouflage (1986)
  • Departure (1991)
  • I Remember Jaco (1991)
  • Quality Time (1998)

With Joni Mitchell

With Jaco Pastorius

With Gary Peacock

With Thomas Quasthoff

  • Watch What Happens (2007)

With Linda Ronstadt

With Steely Dan

  • Alive in America (1995)

With Mike Stern

With Rod Stewart

With Steps Ahead

  • Steps Ahead (1983)
  • Modern Times (1984)
  • Magnetic (1986)

With Christoph Stiefel

  • Ancient Longing (1994)

With Richard Torres

  • From Kenton to Now (1995)

With Ralph Towner

With Mark-Anthony Turnage/John Scofield

  • Scorched (2004)

With Various Artists

  • Who Loves You: Tribute to Jaco Pastorius (2000)

With Weather Report

With Kenny Wheeler

With Joe Zawinul

  • Weather Update (2005)


  • Time Awareness
  • The Erskine Method for Drumset
  • My Book
  • The Drum Perspective
  • Drum Concepts and Techniques


  • The Erskine Method for Drumset (Alfred Publishing Company)
Peter Erskine
Photo Hreinn Gudlaugsson


  1. ^ Stewart, Zan. "Drummer Discovers Small Is Beautiful", Los Angeles Times, April 25, 1993. Accessed November 19, 2013. "Last year, [Peter Erskine], along with bassist John Patitucci, traveled through the United States for a month with a threesome led by pianist Chick Corea. The Somers Point, N. J., native also worked in Italy and Spain as part of pianist Joey Calderazzo's trio, then recorded on the latter's upcoming Blue Note release."
  2. ^ a b c Wynn, Ron. "Peter Erskine: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-06-04. 
  3. ^ Wynn, Ron (2008-06-25). "Weather Report: Biography". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2010-06-04. 
  4. ^ Allmusic review
  5. ^ "Anna Nicole Review". The Guardian. 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  6. ^ Liner notes

External links

  • Official website: Peter
  • Podcast featuring "Joy Luck" by Peter Erskine
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