If you lived in the Yukon in the 90s, then you know the Peters Drury Trio.
There was Caroline Drury with her crystal-clear voice; there was Graeme Peters, wildly talented on the drums and, well, just wild; and there was his brother, Jesse, the skilled tactician on piano.
They were talented and fun and incredibly young for the jazz music they were playing.
Remember, this was in a time before twentysomethings like Amanda Tosoff, Bria Skonberg and Brandi Disterheft took the torch from the jazz greats of the mid-century.
These teenagers toured nationally and internationally and produced two CDs, When Old Met New and Backbeat.
It has been 10 years since When Old Met New was released and that was reason enough for a reunion concert at the Yukon Arts Centre Friday, June 5.
That Was Then … This Is Now seems to be designed to feature and acknowledge the best of their eight-year career together then, which ended in 2004, and showcase what each has been up to now.
E-mailing music files back and forth, getting ready for the reunion, Graeme Peters says it has been strange hearing those old arrangements.
“We were just kids,” he says over the phone from Dawson City where he is performing in the Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Show. “I look back at it now and am amazed.
“But, as a musician, I think, I could have done that better.”
So, he says the first half of the concert will see the old stuff performed with a more mature sound.
“And Caroline has a voice that is four times more powerful now!”
Training her voice for years, more recently in opera at the University of British Columbia, has disqualified Drury from even attempting to be modest.
“I learned how to use it,” she says, wrinkling her face.
This is not a new direction for Drury, who is spending the summer as the leading lady of the Frantic Follies. Before there was a PDT, she was training in classical voice from Barbara Chamberlin.
“PDT snowballed,” she says today. “We did an album and toured, did an album and toured, but I’ve always wanted to go back [to classical].
“But PDT was a wonderful part of my life; I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.”
She expects that Yukoners will be just as surprised to hear her sing classical music as people at UBC were to learn that she had a jazz career once.
Not so surprising will be Jesse Peters’ set in the second half with Graeme on drums and Travis Switzer on bass. As the group, Paramedic, they were at the Yukon Arts Centre in April to release its CD, Love, Doubt and Soul.
His post-PDT career has been largely devoted to playing piano, producing and Paramedic’s “funk soul”, a combination that Graeme says will improve his jazz music in the first half.
“All that hip hop and rap, it all comes from jazz in the beginning,” says Graeme of his brother.
“Me? I do anything that falls into my lap, from rock to ragtime.
“I’m still crazy … still the crazy Graeme.”
At Gerties, Graeme is playing drums two nights a week and the piano two nights. He has recently been asked to sing another two nights, so, he is rehearsing for that gig, too.
“I’m listening to PDT CDs while walking around and, when in doubt, write cheat sheets on your drums.”
When it is his turn to show the YAC audience what he has been up to, he will be on vocals and guitar for his Speed Control project. The other Peters brother, Jody, will join him on bass, and Spencer Cole, a friend from their University of Toronto jazz program, will be on drums.
Drury, when it is her turn, will unleash her soprano voice with Jody Peters accompanying her on piano.
When the idea was born for a reunion, Debbie Peters contacted CBC Radio’s Shelagh Rogers and asked her to host.
It was Rogers who noticed PDT here at a PGI concert in 1998 and brought them to Toronto.
This time, CBC Radio will be recording the event for Radio 2’s Canada Live.
This event will raise funds for literacy programs in the Yukon. Tickets are available at the Yukon Arts Centre Box Office and Arts Underground.