Born: May 20, 1962 Primary Instrument: Drums
For nearly 30 years, Ralph Peterson has been one of the most distinctive and recognizable drummers in jazz. His talent and drive as a drummer, composer, arranger and bandleader set him apart as a Master among his peers. In 1980, Ralph was accepted into the Jazz Studies program at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Some of his teachers there included Kenny Barron, Paul Jeffrey and drummer Michael Carvin.
Peterson met master drummer Art Blakey in 1983. A few months after sitting in, Blakey called Peterson (then a college junior) to play along side him in his two-drummer big band. This was for a performance at the Boston Globe Festival. Ralph continued in the Jazz Messenger Big Band until Blakey’s passing. Peterson takes seriously the honor and responsibility of being the “Last Messenger Drummer” and later paid homage to Blakey on his 1992 recording “Art.” In 1985, a year after his graduation from Rutgers, Peterson was hired to perform with piano giant Walter Davis Jr., as well as with trumpeter Jon Faddis. Ralph has since become a member of the jazz elite. His recording and touring resume includes jazz greats like Terrence Blanchard, Branford Marsalis, Stanley Turrentine, David Murray, The Count Basie Orchestra, Betty Carter, and Michael Brecker....
Awards:Swing Journal Gold Disc Award -1988 - V -Blue Note 1 of Best 10 Recording of the Decade (Village Voice) - 1989 - TriAngular Blue Note 1 of Best 100 CD's of the 2000's (Down Beat) - 2000 - Back To Stay - Scirroco
Outer Reaches is Ralph Peterson’s homage to the rich Jazz Organ history he both influenced by and an integral part of. The band does fresh arrangements of the songs from that CD stretching the boundaries of the vocabulary of what most people think Jazz Organ to be. This band re-introduces and showcases Pat Bianchi as a major voice on Organ as well as two more incredible young talents, Josh Evans on Trumpet and Jovan Alexandre on Tenor.
Fives years ago Ralph Peterson met organist Pat Bianchi in Denver Co. At a clinic and gig at UC Boulder. Immediately upon meeting an accord was struck between the two musicians. They have a connection that is sometimes telepathic and this group Unity is the platform to showcase their amazing musical connection.
Peterson’s history with jazz organ goes back more then 25 years to the great clubs of New Jersey like Mr. West and Sparky J’s. Here Peterson cut his teeth with musical greats like Leo Johnson, Gene Phipps, Eddie Gladden, and Dave Eubanks. He was deeply influenced as well by the Great Larry Young and his Unity recording.
This release of OUTER REACHES also marks the launch of Peterson's own Onyx Music Label, as well as his 15th CD as a leader.
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