For more than 35 years, Ralph Peterson has been one of the distinctive and recognizable drummers in jazz. Besides his incomparable talent behind the drumkit, which has led to collaborations with the likes of Terence Blanchard, Branford Marsalis, David Murray, Roy Hargrove, Michael Brecker, Regina Belle, Betty Carter, Ron Carter, and The Roots in a career that spans almost 35 years – not to mention being hand-picked by Art Blakey as the second drummer in the legendary bandleader’s Jazz Messenger Big Band until Blakey’s 1990 passing.
In a varied and prodigious career whose span now encompasses nearly four decades, percussionist-composer Ralph Peterson Jr. has never stopped expanding horizons for the hard-bop idiom he helped revive. Nor has he shirked from intensifying his formidable artistic resources to connect, urgently and emotionally, with the energies of the present day. He released 2 Big Band CD’, a live follow up with his cutting-edge quintet Aggregate Prime, recorded an all-star group called The Messenger Legacy, all the past 9-12 months! He takes yet another bold step with his Onyx Productions Music Label.
This year he is releasing a Messenger Legacy following featuring 17 Jazz Messenger Alumni. His list of students constitutes a who’s who of today’s amazing up and coming drummers like Ari Honig, E.J Strickland, Tyshawn Sorey, Jonathon Blake, Mark Whitfield Jr. Kush Abadey and Justin Faulkner and many more. He also taught non drummers like Sean Jones, Melissa Aldana and The Curtis Brothers.
Ralph Peterson is now at the intersection where his influence on modern jazz is undeniable and constant, both as an artist and educator. He is at the apex of his power as a drummer, bandleader, teacher and mentor. His new release entitled Onward and Upward is his 25th as a leader, 12th on the Onyx Productions Music Label and has been on more than 150 other CD’s as a sidemanHe is Full Professor of Percussion at Berklee College of Music. Mr. Peterson also remains in high demand as an educator does workshops and clinics with the support of his endorsers: Drums, Meinl Cymbals, Evans Drumheads Vic Firth Stick and Brushes and Cympad Cymbals Protectors.