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Drummer/percussionist Alastair McGrath-Kerr is recognised as one of Australia's leading exponents of Brazilian percussion and jazz drumming.  He studied under legendary teacher Col Hoorweg at the Canberra School of Music, and has a PhD from the University of Melbourne.  In addition to a busy performance schedule, Alastair has given masterclasses and workshops across Australia, and teaches at some of Melbourne's leading institutions, including Monash University and the Universtiy of Melbourne.

For booking enquiries and lessons, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

AlMcGrath-Kerr brushesWell known as a jazz drummer and educator, over the past decade Alastair has been heavily involved in Australia’s vibrant Brazilian music scene.  He is the musical director of Panorama Brasil, and works extensively as a side-man and collaborator with artists and ensembles such as Dany Maia, Ken Murray, Doug de Vries, Maximillian Rudd, and Trio Agogo.  Alongside his teaching work, Alastair has also been editor for a number of drumming books, most recently "Phrasing and Freedom with Brushes" by Anthony Stanislavski.

Alastair was a long-time member of the Doug de Vries Trio, and has worked extensively with the guitar virtuoso, including in Sexteto Zona Sul and Panorama Brasil. The Doug de Vries Trio has played to full houses at the Melbourne International and Wangaratta Jazz Festivals, and opened for legendary Brazilian musician Hermeto Pascoal at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

As well as being well-known as a drummer, Al is one of Australia's most in-demand pandeiristas.  He peforms regularly in a number of choro and samba groups, including Tamandua and Trio Agogo

Alastair has studied extensively in Brazil and the USA.  In 2009 he traveled to Brazil and played with the bateria at Estácio de Sá.  Alastair travelled to Brazil again in 2012, studying and performing with many of São Paulo's finest musicians.  In 2015 Alastair studied in the US with many leading figures in the US Brazilian-music scene, including Mauricio Zotarelli, Jorge Alabe, Scott Kettner and Kirk Brundage.

Al has long been admired for his driving swing feel in a number of jazz groups. His grooves are central to Leigh Barker’s Bell Award winning album The New Sheiks. He appears on the follow-up (The Sales Tax), as well as Barker’s three quintet albums. His compositions are featured on the quintet albums, and on pianist Matt Boden's 2011 release MB4.

In 2009 Alastair formed his own jazz group, The Alastair Kerr Quartet, primarily as a vehicle for his own jazz compositions. In 2010 the Quartet released their debut album (The Ultimate Fate of...) and opened for Chucho Valdes at the Melbourne Recital Centre. Following that, Al formed Panorama Brasil, a group focusing on Kerr's Brazilian influenced compositions and works by a range of Brazilian composers.  Panorama Brasil peformed the premiere of a new suite by Kerr, The Archer and the Dancer, at the 2013 Melbourne International Jazz Festival.  The recording of the suite was released as the groups debut album in June 2013.  Panorama Brasil released their second album, Flor de Pedra, in 2015, as well as featuring at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival with Vince Jones & Alda Rezende, performing a tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim.  They performed again with Vince Jones at the 2017 Melbourne International Jazz Festival, and perform regularly at the Melbourne Recital Centre with programs such as Clube da Esquina, Os Afro Sambas and Brazil's Modern Poets. Panorama Brasil's 3rd album - Chant/Call: Stories of the Gods - was released in 2020.

al walking awayAs a freelance player he has worked with many visiting international artists and some of Australia’s best jazz musicians, including Lulo Reinhardt (Germany), Anna Setton (Brazil), Paulo Aragão (Brazil), Assanhado Quarteto (Brazil), Sarah McKenzie, Bernie McGann, Paul Williamson, Eamon McNelis, Diana Clark, Gordon Brisker, and Marc Hannaford. He has also appeared on a number of jazz, blues and rock recordings

As an educator, Alastair is sought out for his excellent pedagogical knowledge. His students benefit from his extensive research, and from his own experiences as a student with some of the best drummers in Australia and overseas. He has studied with John Riley, Ari Hoenig, Mauricio Zottarelli, and Scott Kettner (USA), Marcio Bahia, Jorge AlabeRoberta Valente, Celso de Almeida and Edu Ribeiro (Brazil), and many Australian drummers, including Simon Barker, David Jones, and Hamish Stuart. Al holds a PhD from the Universtiy of Melbourne, where he investigated the application of Candomble rhythms to drum kit (thesis here).  He completed his Master of Philosophy thesis Improvisation in Brazilian Drum Kit: Performance and Practice Techniques in Choro, Samba and Bossa Nova at the Australian National University (thesis here).



Upcoming Gigs
May 17 Dany Maia - Paris Cat Jazz Club
May 2 Panorama Brasil - Jazz Lab
May 3 Georgie Aue - Paris Cat Jazz Club

Upcoming Gigs

Please click through the tabs for information on our upcoming gigs.

May 17 Dany Maia - Paris Cat Jazz Club

Dany Maia Quintet

Friday May 17, 6:30pm

Paris Cat Jazz Club

Renowned as Brazil's premier vocalist and a global musical icon, Elis Regina's diverse repertoire spans from Baiao to Bolero, epitomizing the essence and refinement of Brazilian music. The Dany Maia Quintet pays homage to Regina's illustrious career by performing timeless classics like "Arrastao," "Reza," and "Aguas de Marco" in a not-to-be-missed show.

Tickets and info here.

May 2 Panorama Brasil - Jazz Lab

Panorama Brasil

Featuring Yael Zamir

Thursday May 2, 7:30pm

Jazz Lab, Brunswick

Panorama Brasil explore the music of two Brazilian jazz giants – Hermeto Pascoal and Airto Moreira – led by guest musical director,
Yael Zamir (flute).

From their early days together in Sambrasa Trio and the legendary Quarteto Novo, Hermeto Pascoal and Airto Moreira have been at the
forefront of Brazilian jazz and improvised music. Panorama Brasil explore and re-imagine the repertoire of these two Brazilian greats, diving into interpretations of regional and folkloric rhythms, as well as samba, bossa nova, and Brazilian jazz.

Tix and info here.

Panorama Brasil:
Yael Zamir (flute)
Jorge Albuquerque (bass)
Andrew James (piano)
Alastair Kerr (drums/percussion)


May 3 Georgie Aue - Paris Cat Jazz Club

Georgie Aue

Friday May 3, 6pm

Paris Cat Jazz Club

Irresistible Brazilian rhythms, sweet jazz harmonies and a whole lotta groove, get to the Paris Cat Jazz Club to hear classic tunes of Brazilian superstar Sergio Mendes!  Making his name back in the 1960s with his group Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66, he went on to become the undisputed master of pop-inflected Brazilian Jazz.

Listening to hit tunes like Mas Que Nada and Ultima Batucada, you'll be whisked away to the 60s and 70s to bossa nova cool and then get grooving in your seat (or on your feet!) to the infectious rhythms of Brazil.  Sergio Mendes is a prodigious arranger, composer and musician, and this show dedicated to his music highlights his incredible legacy. Guaranteed you'll leave shuffling the samba, with an infectious grin!

Bookings and info here.