Peter Apfelbaum

A pioneer of World Music in the 1970s and 80s, Peter Apfelbaum was best known in that period for his Berkeley, California-based big band, the Hieroglyphics Ensemble and later as famed trumpeter Don Cherry's music director. He has also performed with Trey Anastasio, Cyro Baptista, Charlie Hunter, and the Jazz Mandolin Project, to name just a few. His compositions have been performed by, among others, Harry Belafonte, the Kronos Quartet, and the Swedish Radio Orchestra of Stockholm. Known primarily as a saxophone player, Mr. Apfelbaum started playing drums at the age of three and never really stopped. He is also an outstanding pianist.

Today Mr. Apfelbaum leads the genre-defying sextet SPARKLER with a new EP available on Bill Laswell's M.O.D. Technologies digital label. The New York Hieroglyphics, the current iteration of the legendary big band featuring many original members is again available for performance dates. On the other end of the spectrum, Mr. Apfelbaum is offering solo piano recitals. Currently based in Brooklyn, he can be heard in the ensembles of Dafnis Prieto, Omar Sosa, Bill Laswell, and Steven Bernstein. 

Mr. Apfelbaum is a natural, generous, and kind teacher, available to work with school ensembles of all ages, abilities, and instrumentation. 

"My vocabulary reflects the fact that I started life as a drummer, was trained in jazz theory, blues and gospel music as a pre-teenager, became absorbed in African and Latin music as a teenager, listened to a lot of contemporary classical music, worked in R&B, reggae, blues, Latin, African, jazz, funk, Middle Eastern and Indian bands and, for as long as I can remember, I've been fascinated by how sounds can be fitted together."

Click here to listen to SPARKLER's I Colored It In For You, produced by Peter and Aaron Johnston (Brazilian Girls) and released by Bill Laswell's M.O.D. Technologies.