IT’S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER…Peter Erskine & The Dr. Um Band: On Call

As drummer of arguably the best era of Weather Report, Peter Erskine brings the feel of the famed fusion group in both a studio disc and concert disc on this satisfying album with John Beasley/key and  Bob Sheppard/ts-ss, Benjamin Shepherd/eb.

While there are song tributes here and there to the likes of Horace Silver (“Silver Linings”), Tony Williams (“If So Then”), Airto Moreira (“For the Time Being”) and Alan Holdsworth (“Two Paths”), the general mood and vibe is a mix of classy fusion, as Sheppard’s tenor and soprano deliver a sound and attitude akin to Wayne Shorter as on the peppy “Hawaii Bathing Suit” and “Might As Well Be.” The concert material from Italy includes drum workshop approach to bossa nova on the velvety read of Henry Mancini’s “Dreamsville” while Beasley pulls out the plugs for the voluminous “Eleven Eleven.” The studio pieces have some rich and wondrous textures on “For the Time Being” with Shepherd’s bass intro to “Two Paths” filled with rich and clever nuances. While the studio material is impressive, Erskine shows that he and his band were made for the stage; these guys light the fuse on fusion.

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