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Dr. Roger Schupp: Peter Erskine has had profound influence on music PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel   
Friday, 29 March 2013 07:40
Dr. Roger Schupp, professor of percussion, was asked to comment on renowned drummer Peter Erskine’s residency at Bowling Green State University as part of Jazz Week. While his comments arrived too late to include in the story on the event in Thursday’s Sentinel-Tribune, we provide them in full here. Erskine will perform twice at BGSU, April 4 at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall with members of the faculty and April 5 at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall with Jazz Lab Band I.
“I first met Peter about twenty years ago. We hosted a percussion camp at BGSU and one of our first featured guest artists was Peter. Needless to say, the focus of any music camp is education. And in inviting Peter to be part of the camp we couldn’t have made a better choice. Aside from being an amazing performer, he is so articulate in explaining the subtle intricacies of his trait. And he has a patient, giving nature to his personality. It’s obvious that he has a passion for sharing his gift with new generations of musicians.
“Even though I only met Peter after I began working at BGSU, I’ve been familiar with his work for nearly 40 years. When I was in high school, growing up in Missouri, the Stan Kenton Orchestra held an annual Jazz Camp at Drury College in Springfield, MO. Some of my classmates were regular attendees at the camp. One summer, a saxophone player friend of mine came back from the camp and said: “You won’t believe this drummer playing with Kenton. And he’s only about 5 years older than us”. I immediately went and picked up the latest record. It was Peter Erskine. He had started playing with Kenton when he was 17 years old. Wow. And that was just the beginning.
“I guess if I had to describe the impact that Peter has had on drumming (and popular music in general) I’d have to write a book called “Six Degrees of Peter Erskine.” In fact, it probably wouldn’t take six steps to find a connection between Peter and almost anyone else in the music industry. The list of artists he’s played with is a true “Who’s Who”. Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, Weather Report, Steely Dan, Boz Skaggs, Joni Mitchell, Dianna Krall. This list could go on for a very long time.
“And if you’re a fan of the “Austin Powers” movies, the drumming you hear on the soundtrack is Peter. So now, every time you watch the movie and hear “boom, cha cha, boom cha, boom cha cha boom cha” from the drums, you know who it is.
“Oh yeah, did I mention he doesn’t just play drumset? He is a composer, producer, and complete percussionist. I even saw him do a clinic once where he played the glockenspiel excerpt from “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” by Dukas. And nailed it.
“It’s going to be a great two days for us in the BGSU College of Musical Arts as Peter presents clinics, master classes, and concerts with our students and faculty. He’ll also be playing with the Toledo Jazz Orchestra on Saturday night (April 6 at 8 p.m.)

Peter Erskine videos & audio:

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