Firehouse 12 • 45 Crown Street • New Haven, CT 06510 • 203.785.0468

Eric McPherson


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Eric McPherson is at the vanguard of his generation's creative music drummers. His command of multiple percussion instruments is matched by the originality, electricity, versatility and sensitivity he adds to the continuum of the music.
Born in New York City, Eric's musical journey began immediately. Present at his birth were Broadway dancer Barbara Alston, his mother's best friend and the legendary bassist, Richard Davis; who suggested
that their godson be named after Eric Dolphy. Before Eric was three months old, his mother, Saundra, a professional dancer/choreographer, would strap him to her back and take him to her dance classes, rehearsals, auditions and performances. In these creatively fertile environments Eric began to absorb conceptual, rhythmic interpretations of music.

In Saundra's wide orbit of friends and colleagues were percussionists Max Roach, Michael Carvin, Charles Moffett, and Freddie Waits. These major innovators on their instrument would become Eric's primary influences on his musical development and on the eclectic musical arsenal from which he continually draws.

When Eric was twelve, he began his formal drum training under the tutelage of master percussionist Michael Carvin. Eric attended the prestigious LaGuardia High School of the Arts. He auditioned and was selected to perform in the New York All City High School and McDonald's High School Tri-State Big Bands. These bands appeared at many New York City performing arts centers including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Eric and his school combo won various competitions including Down Beat and McDonald's; individually he won several awards in the Outstanding Soloist category.

The Hartt School of Music, at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, awarded Eric a full scholarship to study at the school's renowned Jackie McLean Institute. Eric earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music with top honors.

While still a student, Jackie McLean invited Eric to join his band, marking the beginning of a fifteen-year professional musical apprenticeship. Eric would follow in the steps of Michael Carvin, Billy Higgins, Jack DeJohnette, and Tony Williams, Mr. McLean's most notable drum apprentices. Eric thinks of this association as one of the most challenging in his musical life and says, "Jackie McLean combines two universes moving together as one. He embodies the tradition of Charlie Parker, Bud Powell and Thelonius Monk and reaches beyond that tradition to propel the music forward. I learned to find a balance between his two musical worlds and provide the percussive accents, textures and colors to support his expansive canvas. Accompanying Mr. McLean sharpened my ability to digest and interpret music in a highly personalized way."

As an expression of their personal relationship and their musical connection, in the early 90s Mr. McLean (a.k.a. J-Mac or Jackie-Mac) gave Eric the nickname "E-Mac," a tag that endures.

E-Mac has performed at the most coveted venues and festivals in the Far East, the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, the Caribbean and the United States. Eric feels privileged to have performed with such diverse artists like Abraham Burton, Andrew Hill, Pharoah Sanders, Richard Davis, Claudia Acuña, Avishai Cohen, Kurt Rosenwinkle, Jason Moran and Greg Osby to name a few.

With his childhood friends, Abraham Burton and Nasheet Waits, Eric invests his time at the MPI Recording & Rehearsal Studio that was established by Freddie Waits. Eric has composed music for and produced three CDs and continues to expand his producing abilities by engineering and recording at MPI.

Eric is a dedicated music educator who teaches private students, participates in New York City arts-in-education programs, and conducts workshops and master classes worldwide. In whatever context, Eric's approach to teaching reflects the training he received. As he was encouraged to access his own voice, express his individuality and open his approach to conceptual rhythms by his master teachers, Eric passes that collective legacy on to his students.

Firehouse 12 Performances

Michaël Attias Quartet Friday, April 21, 2017, 10:00p
Peter Evans - Zebulon Trio Friday, December 4, 2015, 10:00p
Fred Hersch Trio Friday, October 26, 2012, 10:00p
Chris Dingman's Waking Dreams Friday, October 15, 2010, 10:00p
Amir ElSaffar - Two Rivers Friday, May 30, 2008, 10:00p
The Steve Davis Quintet featuring Mike DiRubbo Friday, March 16, 2007, 10:00p

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