There are a myriad of different opportunities for in-demand drummer Peter Erskine
to invest himself in, both as a musician and as an entrepreneur. Why then would he elect to bivouac at a local bar to play standards? Well, it may have something to do with the fact that that's what jazz is; jamming on show tunes in venues where you can just drop in any night of the week and listen to or make music for a motley crew.
One such venue is Charlie O's Jazz Club, home to a healthy number of West Coast-based players. The Trio-Terry Trotter
on piano, Chuck Berghofer
on bass and the master himself on trapsis one of the many groups sharing its stage. On a late January day in 2009, the Valley Glenn, California establishment hosted an evening of the finest, classic, straight-ahead jazz performed by some of the scene's most seasoned improvisers. The tape was rolling, and with Live @ Charlie O's
, the grizzled drummer has made the recording available through his own imprint, Fuzzy Music.
"Put Your Little Foot Right Out" opens the set with a cozy and cushy feel. Erskine's perfect brushwork, amongst the best in the drumming corps, lushly pushes things along, prolonging the pleasure until Trotter's second chorus when he switches to sticks. The aural spectrum suddenly opens up as his ride cymbal shimmers and his rim shots accentuate at first only the fourth beat, then the second and fourth beats of the bar. Trotter, for his part, glides atop Erskine's glistening cymbal work, dervishly playing behind the beat and gleefully jolting through some double-time-feel runs with Berghofer's bass murmuring the song's harmonies in a soft, velvety hum until he breaks into his solo.
The bop-ish head of John Lewis
' "Afternoon In Paris" then raises the bar a notch, followed by the highlight of the set, Bing Crosby's old chestnut "Ghost of a Chance." Things continue along a similar theme, alternating between relaxed, George Shearing
-like jaunts, bebop bursts and subdued balladeering until Trotter closes the program with J.J. Johnson
's beautiful "Lament" to the crowd's happy cheer.
Put Your Little Foot Right Out; Afternoon In Paris; Ghost Of A Chance;
How Deep Is The Ocean; Blood Count; Charlie's Blues; Lament.
Chuck Berghofer: bass; Terry Trotter: piano; Peter Erskine: drums.