Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
O'Brien, Peter, drummer; b. Flushing, Queens, NY, 20 September 1959. His father William D. O'Brien b. Jan. 25th, 1931 d. Mar. 23rd, 1986 also was born in Flushing, N.Y. and lived his entire there except for army stint during the Korean War. He was a drummer in the army band stationed in Germany. He went on to play professionally, leading his own trio which had Steve Kuhn and Bob Dorough as pianist/vocalists, among others. He was active from late 1950's thru early 1970's.
His mother's maiden name is Mary C. Kelly. She was born on June 7th. 1929 in Yonkers, N.Y. She has re- married with the last name of Rudden and lives in Long Island. Peter has four children: Sean O'Brien b. Nov. 13th, 1982 (from first marriage 1982-85), Lauren O'Brien b. Oct. 8th. 1991 (current marriage), Miles O'Brien b. Jan. 25th. 1999 (currrent marriage), and Ivy Quintero b. Dec. 29th 1982 (step-daughter, current marriage). Peter is married to Liza Ramirez Concepcion b. July 6th. 1962.Liza is mother to Ivy, Lauren and Miles.
The son of drummer Bill O'Brien , Peter began playing the drums as soon as he could sit up at the set, playing along with recordings of Miles Davis, John Coltrane and all the greats of jazz. Formal studies with his father began at the age of five. Peter attended St. Andrew Avellino grammar school and at age seven tried out for and was accepted in the school orchestra which consisted of seventh and eighth graders. He then received a music scholarship from Power Memorial Academy high school. Peter studied privately with Charlie Perry from age 13 through 17. In 1976, at age16, Peter attended a drum clinic held by Charlie at Hofstra University. The last week of the clinic featured studies with Jack DeJohnette, whose interest in Peter led to recommendations to John Ambercrombie, Bill Connors and Miroslav Vitous. After graduating high school, Peter decided to forgo college and dove headfirst into the New York City jazz scene garnering the attention of drummers Jo Jones Jr., Al Foster, Jimmy Lovelace, and Michael Carvin (with whom Peter studied with in 1978-9). After a period of sitting in at jam sessions and gigging around the city, Peter went on the road with various showbands touring the US. In 1982, he toured the US with Brother Jack McDuff, and from 1984- 1985 all over the US and Canada with the Edgar Winter Band. The band, which featured the legendary singer Jerry LaCroix (original lead singer for White Trash), is the only one that has performed the jazz-inflected fusion material from Edgar's first ground breaking record "Entrance" (Epic), as well as his rock and blues music. During this time, Peter also performed several dates with Roy Buchanan, including a sold-out show at the Beacon Theatre with Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. From 1986 - 1987, Peter toured Europe with Mark McMillan (songwriter for Chaka Khan). In early 1988, Peter moved to Woodstock, New York from New York City and began working with John Hall soon after. In 1989, Peter became a member of Hall's band Orleans (Still The One, Dance With Me). Peter has appeared on seven cd's (four with Orleans, three with Hall), three tours of Japan (two with Orleans, one with Hall), and countless US tours and dates (including Woodstock 94) and had a feature article on him published in Modern Drummer's Rhythm and News (Japan). Peter still tours with Orleans to date (2002). Other tours include Dr. Lonnie Smith 1992 (Spain), Rory Block 1996-97 (US and Europe), and Tracy Nelson 1998-99 (US). Peter joined saxophonist Eric Person's band, Eric Person and Meta- Four in February of 2001. Eric, Peter and bandmates John Esposito (piano) and Kenny Davis (bass) just returned from the Guimaraes Jazz Festival in Portugal and toured to support their new cd in 2003. A cd release party took place on Jan.27th at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York. Peter is also a member of John Esposito's trio with Ira Coleman on bass.
In addition to a busy performance schedule, Peter maintains a limited private teaching practice and freelances as a studio session player. He has played on national jingles for Continental Airlines, AT&T, Macy's and Burger King. He has also worked as a clinician at Bard College, SUNY New Paltz, and Western Connecticut University. Peter has recorded and performed with Mose Allison, Hubert Laws, Warren Bernhardt, Pete Levin, Walter Bishop Jr., Mike Manieri, Rory Block, Brother Jack McDuff, Nick Brignola, J. R. Montrose, Brubeck Brothers, Jonell Mosser, Roy Buchanan, Tracy Nelson, Murali Coryell, Orleans, Jack DeJohnette, Eric Person, Kenny Drew Jr., Dr. Lonnie Smith, John Hall, Edgar Winter Band, Dave Kikoski, and Pete Yellin.
Recordings as sideperson:
Gaye Adegbalola: Bitter Sweet Blues (1999); Jim Barbaro: Smashville (2001); Mike DeMicco: As The Sun Sets (1999); Lloyd Donnelly: Lloyd Donnelly (1992); John Hall: On A Distant Star, (1993), Recovered (1998), Love Doesn't Ask (1999); Lunch Meat: Lunch Meat (1994); Jeff Marx: Treading Air, Breathing Fire (2003); Betty McDonald: Standard Elegance (1993); Jonell Mosser: So Like Joy (2000); Orleans: Orleans Live (1991), Analog Men (1994), Ride (1996), Still The One Live (2002); Eric Person and Meta: Four, Live At Big Sur (2003); Joe Piket: Nine Times Framed (2000); Peter Tomlinson: Momentum (1991); Artie Traum: Letters From Joubee (1993); Talking With Angels: T. W. A. (1992); Jay Ungar & Molly Mason: Brother's Keeper Soundtrack (1993, Nominated For An Academy Award); Various artists: Woodstock Holidays (1994), Vineyard Sounds (1994), Vineyard Sounds (1995), Where Woodstock Lives (1994)
Orleans Live In Japan aired on Japanese TV 1992
Hundreds of hours of cassettes (unissued) with Dr. Lonnie Smith , Warren Bernhardt, Jack DeJohnette, Anthony Cox, John Esposito, Ira Coleman, J. R. Montrose, Mike DeMicco, Eric Person, Nick Brignola, Mike Mainieri, Tony Levin, Pete Yellin , Drew Gress and many more.
Interview/profile article in Modern Drummer's Rhythm and News (Japan) 1991
Interview/profile article in Woodstock Times (Woodstock, N.Y.) 1993
243 Fawn Rd.
Saugerties, N.Y. 12477