July 2012 CD of the Month

Jan 23, 2014

Ralph Peterson  "The Duality Perspective"  Oynx Productions

Ralph Peterson is currently one of the most highly regarded drummer-bandleader-educator of his generation, when he was still a student at New Jersey’s Rutgers University he was chosen by the legendary Art Blakey to be his accompanying drummer! For his 15th recording as a leader, Ralph's sophomore effort for his own Onyx Productions Music Label, he chose to use both his famed Fo’tet quartet for the first 5 songs as well as expanding to a sextet for the remaining 5 songs of the aptly titled album, The Duality Perspective. Moreover, Petersons pays homage to his mentors while acknowledging both of his ensembles’ musicians on the profound artwork of the CD’s cover. The piano-less Fo’Tet featuring students of Ralph includes bass, vibes, clarinet and RP on drums while the sextet features the Curtis Brothers; Zaccai and Luques on piano and bass respectively, Sean Jones-trumpet, Walter Smith III-tenor sax and the Front Range’s own, Tia Fuller alternating on alto and soprano saxophones. Mr. Peterson also invited some of his friends as guests, seasoning the music with marimba and percussion on some of the cuts. This date not only showcases the polished skills of Ralph Peterson as a master drummer, be it his brushwork, soloing, grooving or comping, it proves he absorbed the leadership qualities of Art Blakey and is now sharing it with the new generation of jazz players, “Bu” would surely approve. 

Ralph was born into a an extended family of musicians that included 4 drummers, raised in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Peterson began as a funk drummer practicing to the music of James Brown, The Funkadelic and other 70s funksters. After that, he began listing to the then popular fusion movement which led to his discovering jazz while studying with famed drummer Michael Carvin at Rutger’s, while there he was selected by Blakey to be his 2nd drummer and occasionally lead the Messengers while he took a break. Family is important to Ralph, The Duality Perspective has 2 of his compositions dedicated to his off springs, Princess is for his daughter while Addison and Anthony are for his grandsons. Besides his virtuosity at drums, Ralph is a fine trumpeter often playing both instruments when performing, when not on tour or in a recording studio he teaches at the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston, previously he was an instructor at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts. In the late 1980s after his tenure with Art Blakey’s Messengers, Peterson was chosen from 35 auditioning performers to be in the Blue Note Records composite group of 7 promising new players, Out of The Blue. All of the members of OTB have gone out to enjoy brilliant careers. In 1989 Ralph began his recording discography as a leader founding a quartet he named “The Fo’tet”, since then he has recorded in various formats as a leader and sideman as well as touring the globe impressing audiences and musicians alike with his virtuosity.The two-fold  formats of The Duality Perspective will not only double your listening pleasure it will create or increase your admiration for the drumming and leadership of Ralph Peterson.