Ben Perowsky

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Ben Perowsky (born May 12, 1966) is a jazz and rock drummer, composer, and record producer.

Early career[edit]

After high school, Ben studied at Boston's Berklee School of Music with Alan Dawson. Among the many musicians he met were John Medeski and David Fiuczynski, who were studying at the nearby New England Conservatory.

Returning to New York City, Ben spent a brief year at Manhattan School of Music. Soon after, he was hired by legendary saxophonist James Moody. The following year, he went on tour with Rickie Lee Jones double billing with Ray Charles. In 1987, he worked regularly in NYC with guitarist Jeff Pevar and keyboardist/bassist Morris Pleasure. Ben's freelance career soon began to blossom taking him all over the world with vibraphonist Roy Ayers, with whom he also backed Tom Brown, and Lonnie Liston Smith. Around this time Ben also worked with modern jazz team David Liebman and Richie Beirach.

After playing regularly with Mike Stern at the 55 Bar in 1990, saxophonist Bob Berg hired Ben to tour and play on his next two records. Mike Stern's trio continued to tour and record throughout the early 1990s. At this time Ben also recorded with pianist/producer Jim Beard, legendary baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber and Brazilian pianist Eliane Elias.

Concurrently, Ben began performing frequently at clubs in downtown NYC, becoming a mainstay at The Knitting Factory and later at Tonic. There he first worked with John Zorn in an early line up of the band Masada with Marc Ribot, as well as the band Spanish Fly with Marcus Rojas, Steven Bernstein and David Tronzo. He did a number of tours at this time with The Fertile Crescent, Chunk, and Wayne Horvitz's The President. He also recorded two projects with John Cale. Ben later played percussion in John Lurie's Lounge Lizards and on the record Queen of All Ears.


In 1988, Ben started a band with Adam Rogers and Fima Ephron, both alumni of the High School of Music and Art. After David Binney and David Gilmore joined, the band became Lost Tribes. In 1991 Perowsky met producer Walter Becker, who asked Lost Tribe to record at his then studio in Maui, Hawaii. Lost Tribes released three albums and toured in the U.S and Europe. Perowsky played the role of occasional rapper.

In 1996 he formed a trio with Chris Speed and Scott Colley. Jazzkey, owned by Frank Perowsky, released the trio's first album in 1999. One track from the album was placed int he movie Talladega Nights. Ben Perowsky started the label El Destructo Records. El Destructo: Volume I was created through a series billed as "Beatshop" early that winter. "Beatshop" served as the workshop for a sound Perowsky was developing with Glenn Patscha and Markus Lyons Miller. It was a blending of slow dub style improv with dark ambience and sparse vocals. El Destructo: Volume II Moodswing Orchestra expanded on this idea with the addition of four instrumentalists and five vocalists.

In 2003, Perowsky produced Bop on Pop for his father Frank with Sam Yahel on organ. Also in 2003, he produced the album Camp Songs for Tzadik. It was voted one of the top 50 CDs of 2003 by JazzTimes magazine. The Ben Perowsky Quartet with Chris Speed, Ted Reichman, and Drew Gress toured in Europe in 2005. Skirl released Esopus Opus in 2009. Red Cred, with Speed and John Medeski, began performing in the Catskill mountains in 2007.

In 1988 Perowsky joined the pop rock band Fertile Crescent with fellow High School of Music and Art alumni Erik Sanko,and Danny Blume. In 1995, he joined the song writing team of Oren Bloedow and Jennifer Charles in their band Elysian Fields. He recorded on five albums and toured with the band.

Blue began a series called Liminal Lounge with DJ Olive, spawning an electronica based band called Liminal, in which Perowsky played live and on record with Christian Castagno. Around this time the term "Illbient" came into being. Perowsky also played with Steven Bernstein, Dave Douglas, and Don Byron

In 2002, he began working with songwriter Joan Wasser. They played as a duo for a year before the band Joan as Police Woman was formed with the addition of Rainy Orteca. After three years of live performance and working on Joan's new material, an EP was recorded with producer Brice Goggin, another of Ben's High School of Music and Art schoolmates. The full-length release Real Life was met with much success in the US, UK and Europe. Ben appears in the video for the song "Eternal Flame" and on two songs from Joan's 2008 release "To Survive."

In 1995, Ben also began playing with 101 Crustaceans with bandleader Ed Pastorini. Other players include guitarist Indigo Street and bassist Oren Bloedow.

In 1999, Perowsky recorded on Mike Stern's Play with guests Bill Frisell and John Scofield. He then toured extensively in Scofield's band for most of 2000. In 2002, the Uri Caine trio began touring and recording. A live record was made at the famous basement jazz club The Village Vanguard.On a recording session in 2003, worked with Tom McIntosh, Benny Golson, James Moody, Buster Williams, Kenny Barron and Richard Davis.

From 2003 to present he appeared on albums on tours with Clem Snide, Kaki King, Dave Derby, Jamie Saft, Nels Andrews, Adam Levy, Steven Bernstein, Michael Blake, Trey Anastasio, Lizz Wright, and The Wood Brothers. He recorded with Katell Keineg, Antony and the Johnsons, and appeared on the disco hit single "Blind" by the band Hercules and Love Affair.


As leader[edit]

  • Ben Perowsky Trio (Jazz Key, 1999)
  • El Destructo Volume 1 with Markus Miller, Glen Patscha (El Destructo, 2002)
  • Camp Songs (Tzadik, 2003)
  • Bop on Pop with Frank Perowsky, Sam Yahel (Jazz Key, 2002)
  • Closure with Uri Caine, Mark O'Leary (Leo, 2005)
  • Moodswing Orchestra (El Destructo, 2009)
  • Esopus Opus (Skirl, 2009)

With Lost Tribe

As sideman[edit]


External links[edit]