Just Before Midnight

This 2022 release showcases the talents of Min-

nesota-based drummer, composer, and bandlead-

er Peter Kogan in a variety of settings. The music

was conceived during the pandemic lockdown

and features two quartets, a quintet, sextet, septet,

and solo piano. The lineups that rotate throughout

the album consist of bassists Kameron Markworth

and Charlie Lincoln, pianists Abebi Stafford, Will

Kjeer, and Dominic Cheli, saxophonist Peter Whit-

man, trombonist Nick Syman, trumpeters Mitch

Van Laar and Jake Baldwin, and guitarist Geoff


The album opens with the hard-swinging, me-

dium-tempo “Pow, Pow, Pow, Pow – Yeah!” and

is followed by the breakneck-speed “Just Before

Midnight (Etude #3).” The latter utilizes a dodeca-

phonic tone row, but is set in a manner that avoids

blatant dissonance or atonality. “Owed to J.C. (Ode

to John Coltrane)” pays homage to the spiritual

and societal influence of John Coltrane and is a re-

flection on the killing of George Floyd. Whitman,

Stafford, and Lincoln contribute long, meditative

phrases throughout, supported by a percussive

soundscape that would make Elvin Jones smile.

The mood becomes lighter with the next track,

Isle of Kai” — a subtly joyful jazz-samba tune in-

spired by Kogan’s visits to the Virgin Islands and

co-written with guitarist Elliot Levy.

...And Another Thing (Etude #1)” is a harmon-

ically dense jazz-waltz that employs 2-over-3

rhythms to create a floating feeling throughout

the opening and closing sections of the piece, in-

terrupted only by a middle section in 4/4. Next,

guitarist LeCrone shines on the bluesy, soft-

rock tune “I Dream of Danny Playing Guitar.”

The sextet is then featured in a medium-tempo,

hard-swinging arrangement of Cedar Walton’s

Hindsight.” This is followed by “The Winter of

Our Discontent (Etude #2),” which juxtaposes

smooth harmonies against an off-kilter feel in

five. The album concludes with “Song Without

a Word” for solo piano. While clearly taking the

focus off Kogan as a drummer or bandleader, his

breadth as a composer is clearly showcased in this

pop/classical-influenced work performed expertly by Dominic Cheli.

In addition to being a timely and diverse collec-

tion of music, the production of Just Before Mid-

night should be noted for its clarity, much like that

of the drumming from Kogan that ties the entire

project together from start to finish.

Jason Bake

Many thanks! to ace editor and empathetic interviewer Carl Schroeder for this flattering article appearing in the current Minnesota Orchestra program book! 


When Peter Kogan retired from the Minnesota Orchestra in 2015 
after 29 years as principal timpani, his musical career entered a new phase—one that has brought several passions from his younger years to the fore: jazz, composition and drum set. In the past decade he has recorded and released four albums of his original music, most recently last year’s Just Before Midnight, and has performed regularlyon drum set with an array of top jazz talents including his own septet, the Monsterful Wonderband, while still keeping a foot in the classical and timpani world. His newest project is curating and performing in a monthly jazz concert series, PeterKoganJazzPresents, held on the third 
Thursday of each month at MetroNOME Brewery in St. Paul. 

Kogan’s interest in jazz extends to his junior high and high school 
years, when he attended a summer music camp and was introduced to bebop and improvisation by Chuck Israels, and made trips to New York City jazz clubs with friends, including a memorable visit at age15 to the famous Birdland Jazz Club to hear Count Basie. 
His formal musical studies at Juilliard and the Cleveland Institute of Music, however, were more classical-focused and narrowed to an instrumentnot typically found in the jazz world—the timpani. His early career included positions in the Cleveland Orchestra and Pittsburgh Symphony, a six-year foray back into the New York City freelancedrum set world, and an eventual return to the orchestral profession in the Honolulu Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra. 
Kogan’s arrival in Minnesota in 1986 marked the end of one chapter in his musical life. “Basically I set aside drum set for quite a number of years. I had it in my basement, but barely touched it,” he says. His interest resurged 15 years ago when Orchestra trumpet player Charles Lazarus recruited him to play drum set for a presentation in Naples, Florida, at a time when the Orchestra’s percussionists who play drum set more regularly were unavailable. “I had such a good time, and I was so high on it,” Kogan recalls. After returning home, he worked with Lazarus to continue the jazz collaborations and bring more 
musicians into the mix. “I started writing again, and having people come over to my house to play. That led to my first album, which was released in 2013, and featured Chuck and [Orchestra bass player] Dave Williamson. And then it became pretty clear what I was going to do when I retired.” 

Kogan chose to bow out from the Orchestra in 2015 after the 
conclusion of its Grammy Award-winning Jean Sibelius symphonies recording project under Osmo Vänskä’s direction. His classical music and timpani skills are still in frequent use, though: in recent years he has played timpani with a focus on early music, appearing often with MN Bach Society/Lyra Baroque Orchestra, and he builds and sells sets of timpani 
in the Baroque- and Classical-era styles, crafted to match the design, sound and performance practices of repertoire from those periods. Kogan’s website details his instrument-building endeavors. 

Kogan’s ongoing engagement at MetroNOME Brewery, which has 
become a hot spot for local and national performers, originated last June when his quintet played there as part of the Twin Cities Jazz Fest, and the venue’s co-owner, conductor-pianist William Eddins, invited him to return monthly. Eddins, a former associate conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra, is the broadcast host for the Orchestra’s May 19 performance on its This Is Minnesota Orchestra TV and livestream series. 

Each month’s PeterKoganJazzPresents performance brings a 
new slate of musicians, sometimes united just for that performance, and recent lineups have included a quartet headlined by saxophonist Brian Grivna, a “Brass Master Summit” featuring Lazarus and trombonist Scott Agster, and an appearance by Kogan’s Monsterful Wonderband. This month’s edition takes place on Thursday, May 18, beginning at 7 p.m., and features the Bird&Diz Legacy Quintet, with Kogan on drum set. 
Like much jazz music, Kogan’s career and busy retirement have 
included a mix of planning and improvisation, and what he calls the “wild ride” of his post-Minnesota Orchestra activities is sure to include many more wonderful and surprising adventures, with upcoming ones detailed at

Press and Reviews

Review from Take Effect Reviews of 

"Just Before Midnight"  

November 12  

Just Before Midnight   

Self-Released, 2022   


Listen to Just Before Midnight   

The veteran drummer and band leader Peter Kogan brings along some excellent help here, where a few different line ups accompany him across 9 originals that cover much territory in the area of jazz sounds.   

“Pow, Pow, Pow, Pow- Yeah!” gets our attention immediately with its firm drumming and bright brass that moves at a frisky pace and flows with a soulful quality, and “Just Before Midnight (Etude #3)” follows with a calm spirit, where intimate keys lead right into energetic brass, furious drumming and a very adventurous, dreamy delivery.   

In the middle, “Isle Of Kai” uses swirling guitar strategically in the very warm and reflective tone, while ”…And Another Thing (Etude #1)” flows with rich textures of agile and soaring, timeless jazz qualities.   

Elsewhere, “The Winter Of Our Discontent (Etude #2)” benefits much from the bouncy bass work and glowing brass, and “Song Without A Word” exits the listen with Dominic Cheli on solo piano for a gorgeous and stirring finish.   

A thriving listen with no lack of solos from Kogan, as well as from Jake Baldwin’s trumpet and Pete Whitman’s tenor sax, Just Before Midnight was rehearsed and performed outdoors during the pandemic and spans many reactions including resistance, compassion and reassurance. Kogan’s history in blues and rock certainly are in tact across the entire affair, too, which brings some much appreciated diversity.   

Travels well with: Randy Napoleon- Puppets; Ben Markley Big Band- Ari’s Funhouse


Peter Kogan, drums/composer; Abebi Stafford & Will Kjeer, piano; Charlie Lincoln & Kameron Markworth, bass; Geoff LeCrone, guitar; Jake Baldwin & Mitch Van Laar, trumpet; Pete Whitman, tenor saxophone; Nick Syman, trombone. Dominic Cheli, solo piano on track #9. 

Right out the gate, Peter Kogan races onto the scene with a hard-hitting drum solo that introduces us to a song he calls, “Pow, Pow, Pow, Pow – Yeah!”  This composition swings hard and has a memorable melody that’s presented by the horns after several bars of a power-packed drum solo.  It’s an exciting arrangement for this quintet to play, generously spotlighting each player, starting with Kogan’s percussive power. Pete Whitman, on tenor saxophone, blends beautifully with trumpeter Jake Baldwin.  Both offer rich solo excursions that represent Straight-ahead jazz at its best.  Abebi Stafford is dynamic on piano and Charlie Lincoln holds the rhythm section in a tight grip with his walking bass lines. If you love 1950 and 1960 jazz the way I do, this song turns back time in a wonderful way. The title tune follows, “Just Before Midnight (Etude #3).”  It’s introduced by Will Kjeer on piano, teasing us with chord changes that accentuate unexpected intervals.  They lead us to an up-tempo speed. This racing tempo challenges Kogan’s septet to bring their very best to the party, and they do.  Peter Kogan propels them forward with busy sticks and appropriate cymbal crashes. 

During this production, you will experience Peter Kogan in various group situations.  He opens with a quintet, moves to a septet-setting, and then to a quartet.  There is also a sextet performance and even a solo piano addition, “Song Without a Word” interpreting Kogan’s original song and played by Dominic Cheli.  Peter Kogan intentionally created different groups of musicians to express the best of his original compositions.  For example, he reverts to a quartet to play his ode to John Coltrane that’s named, “Owed to J.C.” On this arrangement, Kogan plays with the tempo to explore the pulse of the tune, employing a 15/8, Afro-Cuban rhythm during the main body of the song and during the solos. “And Another Thing (Etude #1)” is a catchy title and introduces us to a jazz waltz arrangement that allows Jake Baldwin to brightly soak up the spotlight during his trumpet solo. Peter Kogan also solos on his waltz inspired drums. Geoff LeCrone is featured on guitar during the quartet’s interpretation of “I Dream of Danny Playing Guitar.” 

Kogan is a percussionist who has dabbled with various musical genres.  He’s proficient playing jazz, but he also has history with rock music and the blues idiom.  He’s backed up iconic blues musicians like Honeyboy Edwards, Lightin’ Hopkins and Floyd Jones.  In the same breath, he can stand behind a set of timpani drums in a concert hall, and has played with symphony orchestras that include the Cleveland Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Honolulu Symphony.  Kogan represents this type of versatility on drums.  I’m also quite impressed with his composer skills. Peter Kogan has written and arranged all the songs on this album except “Hindsight” written by Cedar Walton.  Employing his various group productions, Kogan introduces us to amazing musicians and a stunning number of his original compositions. To his credit, the Kogan music sounds like standard jazz tunes we should know and love."

 Musicalmemoire's Blog 

A Jazz weblog 

September 1, 2022 

by DeeDee McNeil

Bringing you the latest news and information from the world of jazz and beyond... 

Wednesday, June 08, 2022                          Posted by Jazz Chill at 10:22 AM

Peter Kogan | "Just Before Midnight" 

With Just Before Midnight, his fourth album since 2013, the constantly evolving and very productive drummer-composer Peter Kogan delivers another far- ranging feast of originals (and a knowing arrangement of Cedar Walton’s classic Hindsight). All the qualities that made Kogan’s previous albums attractive — sophisticated-yet-accessible compositions, great players and soloists, and just enough quirkiness to make it interesting and fun — are here again, in abundance. 

Kogan is the rare percussionist who has been able to travel back and forth between jazz, rock, and blues idioms and the classical world. He jobbed around New York City with jazz, rock, and blues bands (along the 

way backing up blues masters Lightnin’ Hopkins, Floyd Jones, and Honeyboy Edwards, and gigging with the Larry Elgart Orchestra) but could also stand behind a set of timpani in a concert hall with a major symphony orchestra. This kind of versatility — and crossover — is quite exceptional for a percussionist. 

Kogan did stints with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony, and the Honolulu Symphony before landing a spot with the highly esteemed and Grammy-winning Minnesota Orchestra, where he served as principal timpanist for 29 years. But classical training and employment never dimmed his love of jazz, which reaches back to his childhood. This latest chapter in Kogan’s musical career — as a jazz drummer and bandleader — brings him full circle, back to the music that originally inspired him to play the drums. 

On this recording, Kogan uses groups of varying sizes, from a quartet up to a septet (he dubs the seven-piece group his “Monsterful Wonderband”) to give voice to his finely conceived compositions. His band has also become something of an incubator for young talent. For the most part, the crew on this CD definitely skews younger, but these musicians handle the challenging material with confident mastery. 

Remember the names — I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about these outstanding musicians in the future, if you haven’t already. 

One thing to understand about this record: 

Each of these songs is a fully realized composition that takes you on a little trip, through changing moods and feelings, “sights” and sounds. While there are some stylistic nods to classic Blue Note and Impulse recordings of the 1960s, Kogan never falls back on the easy but tired formula of “Song/Bunch of solos over the song’s chord progression/Song once more and out.” More like a series of trips to a wide variety of destinations. Definitely worth taking the whole tour! 

Posted by Jazz Chill at 10:22 AM

O's Place Jazz Magazine 28.2 Summer 2022 - Page1. 
P.O. Box 38430 
Charlotte, NC 28278 
Published by: D. Oscar Groomes $12 Summer 2022, Issue 28.2 

O's Drummer 

Peter Kogan 
Just Before Midnight 
Peter Kogan is a rather complete drummer playing rock, jazz 
and in the symphony. He also composes, arranges and produces 
his work as on his latest, Just Before Midnight. The music is 
performed in multiple configurations ranging from a septet 
to solo piano featuring Dominic Cheli on “Song Without a 
Word”. “Hindsight” is a fine tribute to the late Cedar Walton. 
We also enjoyed “Owed To” John Coltrane and the tropical 
flair of “Isle of Kai”


Jamie Eads 

My guest this week on The Drum Shuffle podcast is the great Peter Kogan. Peter has a brilliant new record out this week, "Just Before Midnight." We discuss in detail the writing and recording process for the album. Peter's playing is inspired, his writing is honest, and the band sounds simply incredible. Listen now at #podcast #thedrumshuffle #drumfam #peterkogan 

The Drum Shuffle 

Insights, perspectives and conversations for drummers...