Ralph Peterson is ALIVE, well and swinging deeply on his 17th release as a leader and 3rd on his own Onyx Productions Music Label. His latest CD, ALIVE at Firehouse 12, recorded in New Heaven Ct. at the fire-station-turned-jazz-club, captures the boundless energy and fire of his Unity Project. In this version of the band Peterson brings in veteran and 20-year friend Craig Handy on tenor and soprano sax along with Josh Evans on trumpet. Staying true to the Messenger spirit, Peterson also unleashes yet another dynamic young talent in the person of Jake Sherman on Hammond organ.
For nearly 30 years, Ralph Peterson has been one of the most distinctive and recognizable drummers in jazz. Peterson quickly rose to prominence after meeting 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. Peterson takes seriously the honor and responsibility of being the “Last Messenger Drummer” and later paid homage to Blakey on his 1992 recording “Art.” His recording and touring resume includes jazz greats like Terrence Blanchard, Branford Marsalis, Stanley Turrentine, David Murray, The Count Basie Orchestra, Betty Carter, Michael Brecker, Kenny Barron and many more of the greatest names in jazz.
Now considered by many to be a Master drummer himself, Peterson’s previous recording, The Duality Perspective, garnered rave reviews from major publications including The New York Times, DownBeat Magazine, and JazzTimes to name a few. The disc featured both an All Star Sextet as well as a brand new Fo’tet configuration. Both groups are primarily comprised of former and current students: including Sean Jones, Luques Curtis, Tia Fuller, and Walter Smith III as well as rising stars Victor Gould and Felix Peikli. This project firmly establishes Peterson as a Master Educator and important talent scout of the day. He is also Full Professor of Percussion at Berklee College of Music. Drummers who have studied with him include some of the world’s most in-demand young musicians such as EJ Strickland, Ari Honig, Justin Faulkner, Joe Dyson, Jonathan Blake, Vince Ector, Mark Whitfield Jr., Lyndon Rochelle and too many more to name. Ralph is also highly sought after as a clinician and endorses Mapex Drums, Vic Firth Sticks, and Meinl Cymbals.