Monday, December 31, 2007

The fabulous Eric Gravatt

Eric Kamau Gravatt was McCoy Tyner's drummer at the age of 21, then worked for 20 years as a prison guard before playing the drums again with Tyner (The Canadian Press). He also played with jazz greats such as Albert Ayler, Charles Mingus and many others before joining Weather Report in 1971, but decided to take a day job to pay for his family. After retirement he rejoined Tyner who is happy to have him back because he delivers that sensitivity and dynamics he looks for in a percussionist. Gravatt's playing in some of Weather Report's best albums ever influenced drummers from all over the world, including Azymuth's Ivan "Mamão" Conti. My late soul brother Dom Um Romão was another one who considered Gravatt one of the world's best drummers. Btw, their interplay on such WR albums as "Live in Tokyo" (reissued on a 2-CD set in Japan) is quite fabulous. Curiously, when Dom Um signed with Muse Records in 73, to cut his first solo album in the USA, he invited Gravatt to play congas!

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