Erik Kamau Gravatt

Praise for Eric Kamau Grávátt

"I played a lot with Eric Gravatt, an incredible drummer who was living in Philadelphia then, who later played with McCoy Tyner and Weather Report, He exposed me to a lot of things I hadn’t heard, and different ways of playing. We did a lot of duet playing, just drums and saxophone. He used to set an alarm clock for an hour, and we’d improvise straight through — killin’!"

~ Michael Brecker, Downbeat magazine interview

"The music grew increasingly dense and percussive. Drummer Eric Kamau Gravatt provided the highlights, playing big solos - the kind that would draw cheers even at a rock concert. ..."

~ The Philadelphia Inquirer, Monday, February 22, 2010

“The Weather Report drummer who was the all-around hippest one was Eric Gravatt” Wayne said.” “He had some stuff going.” Eric played with Weather Report on its next record, I Sing the Body Electric, which was actually two records in one: side one was a studio album recorded in December 1971, and side two was a show recorded live in Tokyo in January 1972. With I Sing the Body Electric, Weather Report lost some of its self-consciousness, moving beyond what Wayne called the group’s earlier “'Weather Report Presents’ kind of sound.”

Most significant for the band, the record was well received in the rock press. Bob Palmer gave the record this glowing review in Rolling Stone: “I Sing the Body Electric is a beautiful, near-perfect LP, especially welcome after Weather Report’s noodling, at least half-dismal debut album…. Weather Report may be playing for each other, as some detractors have suggested, but they seem to have become their own most demanding audience. Now that they’ve got their shit together, they’re one of the most exciting groups in contemporary music.”

~ Footprints: The life and Work of Wayne Shorter | Michele Mercer, 2004

"Eric was the one. Miles wanted him, but he came with us in Weather Report. Eric is teaching now, and he is still explosive when he speaks. He had bounce in his rhythm that would bounce off the floor and carry the music up to the ceiling. He had this ethnic sound - the continent of Africa - but with grace. He has a dignity and the flavor of Africa, and of metropolitan cities, all with the element of surprise."

~ Wayne Shorter; p.110, Modern Drummer | September 2003

"Terry Bozzio's 6 most influential CDs... 'Weather Report - I Sing The Body Electric '... "...High Art! ...and my favourite drummer Eric Gravatt's primitive, explosive style make this album one of my most influential' ..."

~Drummer The UK's Loudest Drum Magazine, Issue 25 November 2005

Grávátt was outstanding. Like another great young drummer, Tony Williams, Grávátt has the savvy to listen to what the soloist is playing and to accompany him in a manner that will put the fire and drive into the solo improvisation. He also develops what Clifford Thorton calls a "circle of sound," poly-rhythms and things going with each limb.

Grávátt also played only one solo and it was fascinatingly organized. He built the solo like Frank Lloyd Wright would build a house, organically. It's very difficult for someone who doesn't play the drums to understand how a drummer coordinates himself - how he's able to get his legs and his arms going in a different direction. The left hand spinning, the one stick switching from snare to high-hat, the right foot hitting the other snare straight on. The left foot hitting the bass with still another time and the right smashing down on the cymbal with a good mixed time. And when you're really good like Grávátt, it's sheer magic.

~Bill Cole

Grávátt's rolls and cymbal work were particularly good behind Rush's piano solo. The drummer was crisp and driving throughout the entire concert, hardly missing any chance to compliment the rhythmic accents of his musical partners with phrases of his own.

~Hollie I. West

Eric Grávátt, a regular on the Philadelphia jazz scene, has grown in leaps and bounds within the last year. He plays with a great deal of feeling, involvement and sympathy. With technique and the mind to carry it on, the young drummer maintains a high level.

Grávátt rode through the paces with every mood and every level of intensity. He was an integral part of the three-way musical exchange and ensemble.

~ Michael Cuscuna

In Eric Grávátt, Tyner has a spirited percussionist who could swing Guy Lombardo if he were given the task. Usually wearing a t-shirt, he works in furious perpetual motion - playing broken rhythms on his high-hat cymbal, accenting with his sock cymbal, rolling on his tom-tom drum or spinning off crackling cross rhythms on his snare drum.

The other night Grávátt played a fascinating solo in which he set up counterlines for himself. In effect, he was playing time against time.

~Hollie I. West

L'un des batteurs les plus singuliers des années 70 revient enfin en musique. Il vient d'enregistrer avec Tony Hymas et Billy Peterson á Minneapolis, oú il travaillait jusqu'alors comme gardien de prison.

~ Oliver Gasnier, Jazz Magazine