Peter Erskine began playing the drums at the age of four, and has now been at the forefront of world-class jazz ensembles for thirty years. Erskine’s 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), Peter Erskine began to play with Mike Brecker, Mike Mainieri, Don Grolnick and Eddie Gomez in the group Steps Ahead . His other touring and recording credits (400 albums) include Steely Dan, Diana Krall, Chick Corea, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Gary Burton & Pat Metheny, Joni Mitchell, Kurt Elling, Sadao Watanabe, Eliane Elias, Mike Stern, Miroslav Vitous and Jan Garbarek; the BBC Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Ensemble, Ensemble Modern, the ASKO, Avanti & Absolute 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, including Trios with John Taylor, Palle Danielsson, Rita Marcotulli, and his current band with Alan Pasqua and Darek Oles.
Alan Pasqua, Chair of Jazz Studies at USC, was born in New Jersey and began studying piano at the age of seven, playing both classical and jazz. His career in L.A. broadened as he started playing with more rock and pop artists. He has performed in the bands of Eddie Money, Bob Dylan, and Santana. Some of his other album and touring credits include: Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Ry Cooder, John Fogerty, Aretha Franklin, Sammy Hagar, Al Jarreau, Elton John, Queen Latifa, Graham Nash, Bob Seger, Rod Stewart, The Temptations, Joe Walsh, Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach. In the late 1980s, Pasqua teamed up with guitarist Dann Huff to form the rock band Giant. Their debut recording, Last of The Runaways, on A&M Records, contained several songs written by Pasqua, including the hit single, “I’ll See You In My Dreams.” In addition, he has worked with composers John Williams, Quincy Jones, Dave Grusin, Jerry Goldsmith, Henry Mancini and Maurice Jarre on motion picture soundtracks. He is recognized as the co-composer of the “CBS Evening News Theme”, which has been airing nightly since 1987. Also, he composed the soundtrack for Disney’s hit movie, The Waterboy, starring Adam Sandler. Pasqua is no stranger to the jazz world, and is a highly regarded pianist and composer. His two CD releases, Milagro and Dedications on the Postcards Label hit the top of the jazz charts. All-stars Jack Dejohnette, Paul Motion, Dave Holland, Michael Brecker and Randy Brecker are featured on these recordings. In addition, Pasqua has played and recorded with the likes of Joe Henderson, Stanley Clarke, Gary Burton, James Moody, Gary Peacock, Gary Bartz, Eddie Daniels, Dave Weckl, Tom Scott, Peter Erskine, John Patitucci, Reggie Workman, The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, Sam Rivers, Sheila Jordan, Joe Williams, Ivan Lins, Frank Foster, Alphonso Johnson, Narada Michael Walden, Les McCann, Stan Kenton and Don Ellis. He is also known for his contribution to jazz education, with a recently published books, “The Diminished Cycle” and “The Architecture of Music”. Pasqua has also been a co-leader of a trio with the legendary drummer Peter Erskine. The trio has released “Live At Rocco” and “Badlands”, both on the Fuzzy Music label. Both recordings have received critical acclaim. “Body and Soul”, a trio recording of his with Darek Oles, bass, and Peter Erskine, drums, followed as a Japanese release on the VideoArts label. Recently, Alan has teamed up with his former Tony Williams Lifetime band mate Allan Holdsworth, and is co-leading a quartet that will feature Jimmy Haslip and Chad Wackerman. The band will revisit some of the original Tony Williams Lifetime material as well as play some new compositions. A live HD DVD recording, “Live at Yoshi’s” was released in the spring of 2007. Pasqua’s follow up release as a leader was entitled, “My New Old Friend“, on the Crytogramaphone label. The recording reached #15 on the National Jazz Charts, and has received much critical acclaim. This CD also features Peter Erskine and Darek Oles. Some new original compositions by Alan are included on this recording, most notably, “Highway 14“, which Kurt Elling recorded on his recent Concord release, “Nightmoves”. A brand new electric band recording, “The Anti-Social Club”, Cryptogramophone, was released in the Fall of 2007. This CD features Nels Cline on guitar, Jimmy Haslip on bass, Alex Acuna playing percussion, Scott Amendola on drums, Jeff Ellwood on saxophones and Ambrose Akinmusire on trumpet. In 2008, Pasqua joined forces once again with Peter Erskine and Dave Carpenter, arranging, co-producing and playing on the Grammy Award nominated trio album “Standards”.
Aside from his teaching duties, Darek Oleszkiewicz has been very active as a performer and became one of the most sought after bass players on the West Coast. Oles" (his American nick-name) had the opportunity to perform and record with the greatest masters in jazz. A partial list of his collaborations include: Brad Mehldau, Billy Higgins, Pat Metheny, Joe Lovano, Eddie Henderson, Charles Lloyd, John Abercrombie, Bennie Maupin, Lee Konitz, Peter Erskine, Alan Pasqua, Bennie Wallace, Victor Lewis, Harvey Mason, Dave Grusin, Art Farmer, Horace Silver, Alice Coltrane, Ravi Coltrane, James Newton, Arthur Blythe, Lew Tabackin, Steve Kuhn, Gary Smulyan, Ronnie Cuber, Billy Hart, Kevin Hays, Munyungo Jackon, Steve Hass, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Marian McPartland, Janis Siegel, Bob Brookmeyer, Curtis Fuller, Roy McCurdy, Tom Harrell, Larry Goldings, Bill Stewart, Chris Potter, Kei Akagi, Billy Childs, Bob Sheppard, Joe LaBarbera, Bill Cunliffe, Patrice Rushen, Bennie Golson, Piotr Baron, Teri Lynn Carrington, Buddy De Franco, Terry Gibbs, Anthony Wilson Nonet and Los Angeles Jazz Quartet.