For three decades, world-renowned saxophonist and educator Abraham Burton has been a prominent figure on the jazz scene. Showcased as a soloist on two Grammy award-winning albums, Abraham also has been a featured musician on dozens of recordings.
Throughout his career, Abraham has performed and recorded with numerous contemporaries and legendary jazz artists including Rashid Ali, Kenny Barron, Walter Bishop Jr., Randy Brecker, George Cables, Michael Carvin, Marc Cary, Cyrus Chestnut, Steve Davis, Santi Debriano, Rein de Graaff, Roy Hargrove, Louis Hayes, Roy Haynes, Eddie Henderson, Freddie Hendrix, Conrad Herwig, John Hicks, Terumasa Hino, Yosuke Inoue, Victor Lewis, Harold Mabern, Christian McBride, Jackie McLean, Eric McPherson, Mulgrew Miller, Lawrence “Butch” Morris, David Murray, Steve Nelson, Nicholas Payton, Alvin Queen, Nat Reeves, Larry Ridley, Wallace Roney, Jimmy Smith, Arthur Taylor, Horace Tapscott, Nasheet Waits, Kenny Washington, Peter Washington, Larry Willis, Jimmy Woode, and Reggie Workman.
Born and raised in New York, Eric McPherson was immersed in music from birth on Richard Davis, his godfather and an icon among jazz bassists, was present at his birth. It was Richard who suggested he be named after Eric Dolphy. Before Eric was three months old, his mother, a superb dancer-choreographer deep in the jazz scene, was taking him, strapped to her back, to rehearsals and performances. Her wide orbit of friends included lots of drummers, and major jazz artists like Max Roach, Michael Carvin, Charles Moffett, and Freddie Waits. Small wonder that Eric was beating on pots and pans before he could walk. At three, he told Elvin Jones, another household friend, that he was definitely going to be a drummer.
By the time Eric was eight, he was teaching himself to play on a drum set borrowed from Charles Moffett. At twelve, he started seven years of formal drum studies under Michael Carvin, a master drummer, and a brilliant teacher. Within the year, he was jamming with another kid, Abraham Burton (now a major saxophonist). Together, they started doing street performances at anti-apartheid rallies, soon to be joined by young Nasheet Waits (now an up-and-coming drummer). A year later they were performing on stage at Barry Harris’ Jazz Cultural Theater.
At about the same time, Eric was admitted to New York’s prestigious LaGuardia High School of the Arts, a school for gifted students. Soon he was selected for the New York All City High School Big Band, making his Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center debut with the Big Band and winning several Outstanding Soloist Awards.
Upon graduating, his mentor Michael Carvin recommended Eric to Jackie McLean. That led to a full scholarship for attending the Jackie McLean Institute at the Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford. While still a student at Hartt, Jackie invited Eric to join the Jackie McLean Quintet along with Rene McLean, Alan Palmer, and Nat Reeves. For the next 15 years, until Jackie’s recent death, Eric was his drummer, following in the distinguished footsteps of drummers Michael Carvin, Billy Higgins, Jack DeJohnette, and Tony Williams. Over those years, Eric recorded two CDs with Jackie and performed with him at major venues and festivals all over the Far East, Middle East, Latin America, Europe, the Caribbean, and the U.S.
In addition to his touring and recording with Jackie McLean, Eric has also performed with a wide range of major jazz figures, including Pharaoh Sanders, Andrew Hill, Richard Davies, Claudia Acuña, Jason Moran, Greg Osby, and Avishai Cohen.