Drum legend Peter Erskine has worked with a slew of the world’s best bass players, and that’s once again documented on two new albums from his projects. First up, Erskine’s “Dr. Um” band has followed up their successful debut album with Second Opinion. Where the original album featured Janek Gwizdala, the former Weather Report drummer tapped bassist Benjamin Shepherd to lay down the low end on the follow-up.
“The first Dr. Um album gave me a chance to look at my musical past and explore music I felt people should hear,” Erskine says in an EPK. “We felt an urge to make a second album, a ‘second opinion’ from Dr. Um. It’s important as a jazz musician to bring younger musicians into the picture. This bass player, Benjamin Shepherd, is remarkable. I can’t claim to have shown him anything, but I have given him a platform.”
Next up, Peter Erskine’s New Trio released their sophomore album as well, entitled In Praise of Shadows. The trio is filled out by keyboardist Vardan Ovsepian as well as bassist (and No Treble columnist) Damian Erskine, with guest appearances by cellist Artyom Manukyan and Judd Miller on EVI.
“From the Tanizaki essay on esthetics titled ‘In Praise of Shadows,’ to the 60s pop hit ‘Sukiyaki,’ this is the perfect follow-up album to Joy Luck,” Erskine’s website states. “Pianist/arranger Vardan Ovsepian has penned an impressive collection of originals, with Peter contributing one new world music/ acoustic fusion classic (‘Each Breath’) — featuring guest cellist Artyom Manukyan (the song is a cross between acoustic Weather Report and the Roger Kellaway Cello Quartet). Electric bass phenom Damian Erskine shines on this recording.”
Check out the mind-altering groove set up by Damian on the song “Labyrinth”:
Dr. Um Second Opinion Track List:
- Eleven Eleven
- Street of Dreams
- Not So Yes
- Did It Have To Be You?
- Lida Rode
- Solar Steps
- Willow Weep For Me
Peter Erskine New Trio In Praise of Shadows Track List:
- Sukiyaki (Ue Wo Muite Arko”)
- What If
- Each Breath
- Marcheta (“A Love Song go Old Mexico”)
- Silhouette Shadows
- Begin Within
- Distant Blue
- All That Remains