Peter Apfelbaum

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Peter Apfelbaum
Peter Apfelbaum with the Steven Bernstein Diaspora Suite in Saalfelden, 2009 (photo by Davide Leonardi)
Peter Apfelbaum with the Steven Bernstein Diaspora Suite in Saalfelden, 2009 (photo by Davide Leonardi)
Background information
Born (1960-08-21) August 21, 1960 (age 61)
Berkeley, California, U.S.
Instrument(s)Tenor saxophone, piano, keyboards, drums
Years active1970s–present

Peter Apfelbaum (born August 21, 1960) is an American avant-garde jazz pianist, tenor saxophonist, drummer, and composer born in Berkeley, California.[1]


Peter Apfelbaum and Paul Shapiro (photo by Sheldon Levy)

He performed with Carla Bley from 1978–1982 and toured with Warren Smith and Karl Berger. He worked with musicians involved with the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, New York. He graduated from Berkeley High School in 1978. His main instruments are tenor saxophone, piano, and drums.

He has composed for his 17-piece group, the Hieroglyphics Ensemble, and for Don Cherry. In 1990 he toured and recorded with Cherry in the band Multikulti, playing piano and saxophone. In the early 1990s, he was the opening act for The Grateful Dead.[citation needed] Apfelbaum formed the Hieroglyphics Ensemble with jazz musicians from the San Francisco Bay Area, including Will Bernard, and Jai Uttal.

His band the New York Hieroglyphics released It Is Written in 2005 with members from the original group and with Dafnis Prieto, Josh Roseman, and Abdoulaye Diabate. His work combines world music with experimental jazz.[2]


As leader[edit]

  • Pillars (Jewish Matador, 1979)
  • Signs of Life (Antilles, 1991)
  • Jodoji Brightness (Antilles, 1992)
  • Luminous Charms (Gramavision, 1996)
  • It Is Written (ACT, 2005)

As sideman[edit]

With Trey Anastasio

  • Bar 17 (Rubber Jungle, 2006)
  • Plasma (Elektra, 2003)
  • Seis De Mayo (Elektra, 2004)
  • The Horseshoe Curve (Rubber Jungle, 2007)

With Karl Berger

  • Live at the Donaueschingen Music Festival (MPS, 1980)
  • New Moon (Palcoscenico, 1980)
  • Stillpoint (Double Moon, 2002)

With Steven Bernstein

  • Diaspora Soul (Tzadik, 1999)
  • MTO Volume 1 (Sunnyside, 2006)
  • Diaspora Suite (Tzadik, 2008)
  • MTO Plays Sly (Royal Potato Family, 2011)

With Dafnis Prieto

  • Taking the Soul for a Walk (Dafnison, 2008)
  • Live at Jazz Standard NYC (Dafnison, 2009)
  • Triangles and Circles (Dafnison, 2015)
  • Back to the Sunset (Dafnison, 2018)

With Jai Uttal

  • Beggars and Saints (Triloka, 1994)
  • Shiva Station (Triloka, 1997)
  • Thunder Love (Nutone, 2009)
  • Roots, Rock, Rama! (Mantralogy, 2017)

With others


  1. ^ Cook, Richard (2005). Richard Cook's Jazz Encyclopedia. London: Penguin Books. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-141-00646-8.
  2. ^ Down Beat Profile Archived 2006-11-18 at the Wayback Machine