This version of Joe Zawinul’s “Birdland” is a classic example of the loud, brash and exciting Maynard Ferguson Big Band. Originally released by Weather Report on the seminal recording Heavy Weather in 1977, Ferguson quickly followed with this version a year later on his album Carnival.
The drummer on the date is a young Peter Erskine, showing off his fabulous technique and perfect time-feel. Possibly one of the greatest fusion drummers of all time, Erskine began his career with the swinging Stan Kenton Orchestra, which he joined in 1972. After a three-year stint with Kenton he joined Ferguson, with whom he stayed with for two-years before moving on to Weather Report.
Still performing across the globe he has played with a virtual “Who’s Who” of jazz, winning the Modern Drummer magazine readers’ poll in the “Jazz Drummer” category 10 times.