Peter Erskine began playing the drums at the age of four, and has now been at the forefront of world-class jazz ensembles for nearly now been at the forefront of world-class jazz ensembles for nearly thirty years. His first major professional work was with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, which he joined in 1972. After a three year stint with Kenton and a two year stay with Maynard Ferguson, he joined Weather Report in 1978. The excellence of the partnership between Erskine and bassist Jaco Pastorius was an integral part of that group's success.
Following his 4 years in Weather Report (having recorded five albums with them including the Grammy Award winning "8:30"), he began to play with Mike Brecker , Mike Mainieri and Eddie Gomez in the group Steps Ahead . His other touring and recording credits (300 albums) include Steely Dan , Chick Corea , Joe Henderson , Freddie Hubbard , Gary Burton & Pat Metheny , Joni Mitchell , Ralph Towner , Sadao Watanabe , Hubert Laws , Eliane Elias , Miroslav Vitous and Jan Garbarek ; music ensembles such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra , The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra , The London Symphony Orchestra , Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Ensemble , Ensemble Modern , the ASKO and Avanti Ensembles ; "Bass Desires " (with John Scofield, Bill Frisell, and Marc Johnson), the John Abercrombie Trio , the Kenny Wheeler Quintet & Big Band , the Bob Mintzer Big Band , the Yellowjackets as well as his own groups.
Peter has recorded twelve solo albums: "Peter Erskine", "Transition", "Motion Poet", "Sweet Soul", "Big Theatre", and his ECM recordings You Never Know, "Time Being", "As It Is" and "Juni" as well as "History of the DRUM". and "Behind Closed Doors" on his own label FUZZY MUSIC.. His latest playing ventures include The Lounge Art Ensemble (that group's latest CD is titled "Lava Jazz" and a piano trio with Alan Pasqua and Dave Carpenter; their double CD "Peter Erskine & Alan Pasqua with David Carpenter - Live at Rocco" has gotten rave reviews from the press and fans.
Besides touring and recording, Peter is now pursuing new avenues in his career by composing for dance, theatre and animation. He has completed musical scores for Shakespeare's King Richard II and A Midsummer Night's Dream, the latter being honored by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle with the award for the "Best Original Musical Score 1987." His music for The American Conservatory Theatre's production of Twelfth Night was awarded by the Bay Area Drama Critics' Circle as the "Best Dra matic Score for 1989." His most recent works for this medium are Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, the dance piece "History of the Drum" (written for the Kokuma Dance Company of Birmingham, England), and "The Yield of the Long Bond" for LA's "Matrix Theatre". He has scored animation productions for the USA, Malaysia and Japan and he is now the composer of music for the Simon & Schuster books-on-audio series "Alien Voices", starring Leonard Nimoy and John deLancie of Star Trek fame.
Peter Erskine is best known for his versatility and ardent love of working in various musical settings. He began his career at the age of 18 with the Stan Kenton Orchestra and has since played with such groups as Weather Report, Steps Ahead, Maynard Ferguson, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan and the Yellowjackets, not to mention recording over 300 albums. He has also won numerous awards for his work, including a Grammy, the Modern Drummer Readers Poll, and an Honorary Doctor of Music Degree from the Berklee School of Music. Peter currently keeps busy with his Trio, which records for his own label Fuzzy Music, as well as making guest appearances with such ensembles as the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.