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I’ve been listening to Weather Report’s I Sing The Body Electric a ton lately, and the drummer is flooring me. As a player he is at the very least under-appreciated, but more than that he seems to be just generally unknown.
Eric Gravatt lives in Minneapolis, and currently plays with McCoy Tyner’s quartet. He also plays occasionally with his own group down at the Artist’s Quarter in St. Paul. After dominating in Weather Report for a few years, Eric decided to leave music altogether and become a prison guard. I guess that’s the reason for his disappearance into anonymity.
My former teacher, Dave King, hails Eric as one of his favorite players of all time, and openly admits to consciously and intentionally imitating Eric’s style and approach.
Here’s what Wayne Shorter had to say about Eric: “Eric was the one. Miles wanted him, but he came with us in Weather Report.”
Terry Bozzio said this about him: “Seeing him play changed my life. There isn’t — and maybe never will be — anyone who plays drums with that much intensity.”
Check out the video below of Eric playing with Tyner back in the 70’s (before his prison guard career). There’s also a great 2005 article from the Pioneer Press about Eric’s current activities.
Anyway, I added the previously mentioned Weather Report record to the AEDSK list. Trust me, it absolutely deserves to be there…