Ernie Durawa will be playing at Juliet Italian Kitchen on October 10th.
Ernie Durawa was born in San Antonio, but he has been a major player on the Austin music scene for decades. His ability to totally transcend stylistic barriers has made him an important part of various bands that do the same thing, most notably the all-star Texas Tornados featuring his life-long friend Doug Sahm as well as country and western legend Freddy Fender and Tex Mex maestro Flaco Jimenez. Durawa was also the drummer for the unique singer and bandleader Delbert McClinton for a long bluesy stretch which ended in 1981.
As a drummer he was taking in the art of various rhythm and blues backbeats as well as the profound rhythmic inventions of bebop masters such as Max Roach. The drummer has seemingly pushed jazz further and further to the front in his list of priorities as the years go on, a welcome development on a music scene that seems to welcome jazz elements but garners much more notoriety from the more commercially-friendly, butt-shaking sounds of rock and roll and rhythm and blues.
Durawa's grand collaboration with Sahm, the Texas Tornados, came about in 1989. The group enjoyed several hit country singles including "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone?" and won a Grammy. Sahm's death in 1999 concluded this wonderful chapter in Tex Mex music. Durawa's jazz activities in Austin seemed to expand at this point, creative waters rushing in to fill the gap left by such an irreplaceable musical force. The combo Los Jazz Vatos was formed circa 2000 with players such as trumpeter Jimmy Shortell and bassist Brad Taylor and eventually began releasing recordings. Durawa is also involved with the Austin Jazz Workshop, Johnny Nicholas' Texas All-Stars, the South Austin Marimba Band and the National Guitar Workshop summer music camps.