Jon Faddis and Peter Erskine, two prominent names in the jazz world, headline the Spokane Falls Community College Jazz Festival this weekend.
Faddis, a trumpeter, and Erskine, a drummer, will perform Saturday in a public concert in the SFCC Music Building auditorium.
Best known as a disciple of Dizzy Gillespie, Faddis has in the past several years established a reputation independent of the be-bop master.
Something of a prodigy, Faddis joined Lionel Hampton’s big band as a featured soloist the year he graduated from high school. He moved on to star in bands led by Charlie Mingus and Mel Lewis before “retiring” to the studio scene.
His work has been heard on the records of such disparate artists as Duke Ellington, the Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, Kool and the Gang, Luther Vandross, Quincy Jones, Billy Joel and Stanley Clarke.
He played on the theme of “The Cosby Show” and Clint Eastwood’s films “The Gauntlet” and “Bird.”
But when Gillespie invited him to play with him at the White House for a 1982 “In Performance” ceremony, Faddis realized he needed to get back on the road.
He formed a working trio in 1983 and in 1987 organized a big band to celebrate Gillespie’s 70th birthday. He later became musical director of Gillespie’s United Nations Orchestra. He also has served as musical director for the Carnegie Hall Centennial Jazz Band, leads the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band and was music director of the 1995 Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
Despite those lofty credentials, Faddis is a loose and engaging concert performer. He has even been known to lead audience-participation events in tony jazz clubs, leading the late critic Leonard Feather to proclaim him “as good as Wynton Marsalis and a lot more fun.”
Erskine, who anchored the John Scofield Quartet in its SFCC appearance a few years ago, has an equally hip resume.
He joined the Stan Kenton Orchestra right out of college, then played with Maynard Ferguson before being dubbed for a spot in Weather Report, with which he played for four years.
Over the course of his career, Erskine has played with a veritable who’s who of great jazz musicians. Among them are McCoy Tyner, Joe Henderson, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Joe Lovano, Herbie Hancock, Steely Dan, Bob James, Michael Brecker, Steps Ahead, Stan Getz, Bob Berg, Mike Stern, Al Jarreau, Bob Mintzer, Hubert Laws, John Abercrombie and Joni Mitchell.
He’s a three-time winner of Modern Drummer magazine’s Reader Poll and he holds an honorary doctorate from the Berklee School of Music.
His latest CD, released on his own Fuzzy Music label, is a handsome, swinging outing with saxophonist Richard Torres.
Erskine and Faddis will open the show Saturday in a quartet setting with pianist Brent Edstrom and bassist Clipper Anderson. During the second half of the show, they’ll join the SFCC Jazz Ensemble, led by Dave Wakeley.
Following the concert, they will play a “third-set” performance at Hobart’s Jazz Lounge at Cavanaugh’s Fourth Avenue.
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MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: SFCC Jazz Festival Location and time: SFCC Music Building auditorium, Saturday, 8 p.m. Tickets: $12/$10 for students ($14/$12 at door)