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April 9, 2010: Damian Erskine CD Release / Portland, OR


Opening: Ben Darwish Group

JIMMY MAK’S (221 NW 10th Ave. – Portland, OR)
$12 cover | 8pm-midnight | all ages until 9:30, then 21+

Calling all music lovers!

Bassist/Composer Damian Erskine has released what promises to be one of the most exciting recordings of 2010. The CD titled “So to Speak” is the most recent release from this master bassist from the West Coast. If the last name rings a bell, it should, Damian is the nephew of legendary jazz drummer Peter Erskine, to which he credits much of his influence and musical path. Damian spent much time in the audience as a young man with uncle Peter, and had a front row seat to many masters of the bass to which he credits his love for the instrument. The new recording features eight new original Erskine compositions. From the powerful opening track “Inside Out” to the rhythmic tour de force titled “Kaluanui” Erskine does not disappoint. One listen to his bass technique and approach on the track titled “Light” and you will be hooked. Erskine is a master of his craft. If you love the legends of the bass guitar, sit back and take in the next generation – Here he is!


Damian Erskine: Bass
Reinhardt Melz: Drums
Ben Darwish: Piano
Justin Morell: Guitar
John Nastos: Tenor

Press Quotes:

“Damian Erskine’s significant facility, big pocket and harmonic awareness what comes when talent and hard work collide!”
-Bass Player Magazine

“Damian has such a refreshing and individual bass style. I thought of Jaco, Linley Marthe, Richard Bona and others but he certainly has his own voice and is someone who, make no mistake, it’s time you checked out. But this is not just a record for bassists. This is simply a great record.”

“…this is a 21st century in the best sense of the word (words) excursion…forward thinking compositions, as well as musicianship, brought to the forefront. I would highly suggest checking this out.”
-Bass Musician Magazine

About Damian:
Damian Erskine is not your ordinary bass player. While not touring, Damian hones his chops with some of the best jazz and latin musicians the West coast has to offer. Damian is known for his ability to fit into any musical situation and his extraordinary reading and improvising skills. Damian has played either in the studio or on stage with the likes of Teri-Lynn Carrington, Gino Vannelli, John Ellis, Shawn Pelton, Marko Djordjevic, Brandon Ross, Les McCann, Jeff Lorber, Vardan Ovsepian, Charmaine Neville, Jessy J, Luis Perdomo, Peter Erskine, Tony Furtado, Kate Schutt, Alan Jones, Patrick Lamb, Ore. Jazz Society Hall of Famer Dan Balmer, Klezmocracy as well as being featured on the “Shed Sessionz Vol. 1? DVD. Whether playing as a sideman or with his own group, he is known for his rock solid bass work, virtuosic solos and thoughtful chordal abilities.

While surfing the World Wide Web check out:


Drawing from influences from many different styles of music, Ben Darwish has been a leader in the Northwest music scene for several years. On December 4th, The Ben Darwish Group which features Tim Willcox on sax, will be debuting their first full concert since their formation. In addition to Willcox on sax, their sound is fueled by the fiery rhythm section (Bill Athens on bass and Randy Rollofson on drums) and Darwish on vocals in addition to piano. The set will be comprised of almost entirely new material in preparation for an upcoming recording. In addition to writing and performing new music, Darwish has been heavily involved in the Portland music scene. This prompted a recent article in the Oregonian entitled, “New Directions In Jazz: Ben Darwish and KMHD “.

Since their debut at MFNW in September, The Ben Darwish Group has been invited to audition for the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad program. They will also be flying to New York on October 23rd to audition at Jazz At Lincoln Center. If accepted, they will perform and teach in another country for a month next year. This is a huge opportunity for the group and they will be representing Portland in a small group of hand-picked jazz, bluegrass, and hip hop quartets from around the country.

In the jazz setting, Ben has played with many artists including: Kevin Mohagany, Rich Perry, Ron Miles, Devin Phillips, Esperanza Spalding, and Alan Jones. In others genres, he’s performed with Reggie Watts, Bill Summers (of The Headhunters), Stephanie Schneiderman, Ohmega Watts, and Ryan Dolliver, just to name a few. In 2003, he won the Jazz Society of Oregon Young Musician scholarship. Most recently, he was the winner of the 2008 downbeat award for Outstanding Big Band Performance. He was nominated for “Outstanding Achievement In Jazz” by the 2009 Portland Music Awards and released his second Trio album in February 2009, entitled “Ode To Consumerism”.

“Do not forget about Portland’s jazz scene. And if you do, God save you, let Darwish teach you a lesson.” – Willamette Week November 2008

“After a drum intro by Jason Palmer, Darwish and bassist Eric Gruber kick in the melody and challenging rhythms of the title track, an original by Darwish that’s every bit as hip as you’ll hear coming out of New York.” – JSO Jazzscene Review of “Ode To Consumerism”

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