“The wise musicians are those who play what they can master” Duke Ellington
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26 Apr

Ralph Peterson

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"In addition to total musicianship, a drummer must have good time, big ears, imagination, and humility (to the music). Technique and a healthy, positive attitude are also invaluable.” Ralph Peterson

"I was fortunate to have apprenticed under some of the greatest musicians in jazz: Art Blakey, Betty Carter, Elvin Jones, and Walter Davis. They all had a direct and lasting impact on my musical depth and ability, and I keep their gifts to me alive by passing them on to my students.” Ralph Peterson

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.

In 1983, Peterson met master drummer Art Blakey. 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.Ralph has continued to maintain and set standards in creativity, both as a leader and a sideman by working with musicians such as Don Byron and the Charles Tolliver Big Band.

In December of 2000, Ralph subbed for the legendary Elvin Jones Jazz Machine, at Elvin’s request, at the Blue Note 19th Anniversary Celebration. As an educator, Ralph has been on the faculty at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Long Island University, The New School, NJ PAC’S Jazz for teens program, The North Netherlands Conservatory in Holland, Rutgers University, and the Juilliard School of Music. Some drummers who have studied with him include EJ Strickland, Ari Honig, Justin Faulkner, Rodney Green, Vince Ector, Mark Whitfield Jr. and too many more to name.

Peterson’s latest recording, on his own Onyx Music Label, features an exciting organ group called the Unity Project which pays homage the music and mastery of organist Larry Young while at the same time carrying the organ tradition forward. In 2010, he also release his first instructional DVD. In the spirit of giving back to the next generation of musicians, Ralph has instituted The Blackstone Education Foundation which is dedicated tot the preservation and documentation of America’s music art form…Jazz.

He is now Full Professor at Berklee College of Music, Artist in Residence Prince Claus Conservatory in Holland as well as a clinician and endorser for Mapex Drums, Vic Firth Sticks, Axis Pedals as well as Bosphorus Cymbals, where he designed their newest cymbal line aptly called The Oracle.

Ralph Peterson at at Philippos Nakas Conservatory   on May 14, 2012 - Ippokratous 41 — Athens — 210 3634000 - with George Kontrafouris, Yotis Samaras and Dimitris Vassilakis





Last modified on Friday, 10 February 2012 18:38

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