A highly skilled, versatile drummer, Peter Erskine has anchored big bands and jazz-rock fusion groups.
He's known for sophisticated rhythms, distinctive accompaniment, and powerful, rippling solos. Erskine began drumming at three, and participated in Stan Kenton's National Stage Band Camps from the age of six. He studied with Alan Dawson and Ed Soph, attending the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and Indiana University. He played with Kenton from 1972 to 1975, then from 1976 to 1978 with Maynard Ferguson. Erskine joined Weather Report in 1978, and was their drummer and percussionist until 1982. He also did several West Coast sessions in the late '70s, and was a member of Steps and Steps Ahead. During the '80s he worked with John Abercrombie's groups and the quartet Bass Desires. He's also worked with Joe Farrell, Marc Johnson, Mike Brecker, Randy Brecker, John Scofield, Bob Mintzer, Lew Soloff, Kenny Kirkland, Mike Mandel, and Kenny Werner, among others. As a leader, he debuted with Peter Erskine in 1982 on Contemporary, followed by several well-received efforts for Denon. During the '90s, he developed a good relationship with ECM, releasing such albums as 1992's You Never Know, 1995's As It Is, and 1998's Juni. Also during the '90s, Erskine founded his own Fuzzy Music label, delivering such albums as 1995's From Kenton to Now with tenor saxophonist Richard Torres and 1998's Lava Jazz. In the 2000s, Erskine continued to release albums via Fuzzy Music with 2002's Badlands, 2005's The Lounge Art Ensemble: Music for Moderns, and 2016's Dr. Um, which introduced his Dr. Um Band featuring keyboardist John Beasley. In 2017, Erskine reunited Beasley and the Dr. Um Band for Second Opinion. ~ Ron Wynn, Rovi