Firehouse 12 • 45 Crown Street • New Haven, CT 06510 • 203.785.0468

Ralph Peterson

Performer's Website

For nearly 25 years, Ralph Peterson has been one of the 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. They instilled in him the importance of fundamentals as well as the importance of having the seeking spirit necessary for continued musical growth.

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.

Peterson’s recording career began in 1985 with the Blue Note stable band OTB (Out of the Blue). Shortly thereafter, he was signed to the Blue Note Label as a leader and released six critically acclaimed recordings. His debut project V, won him the prestigious Swing Journal Gold Disc Award. Ralph has since recorded two CD’s for the Evidence label, (the Reclamation Project and The Fo’tet Plays Monk), and two CD’s for the British Sirocco Jazz label (Back to Stay) which featured Michael Brecker and “Triangular 2” which features Dave Kikowski. His Quintet release on Criss Cross entitled “The Art of War” received rave reviews and this Quintet, as did the following releases “Subliminal Seduction” and “Tests of Time”. The bands energy and precision is the subject of much of the buzz in the international jazz community.

Peterson has accomplished the difficult task of keeping a working band (The Fo’tet) together for over 18 years and now features the Soprano Sax work of Greg Osby. This year marks the reunion of his innovative group The Fo’tet, the release of a new CD on Criss Cross called The Fo’tet Augmented. One of the most original sounding bands in jazz for the last 18 years has now added percussion to the already rhythmic collage. The leader has formed a new Sextet featuring some of the brightest young players on the scene much in the tradition of his mentor and will be recording them in the near future. He also is preparing an exciting organ group called the Unity Project which is dedicated tot the music and mastery of organist Larry Young.

Ralph continues 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 Bang. In December of 2000, Ralph subbed for the legendary Elvin Jones Jazz Machine, at Elvin’s request, at the Blue Mote 19th Anniversary Celebration. In 2002, Ralph was also featured in a tribute concert to his mentor Art Blakey, featuring Jazz Messenger Alumni, Curtis Fuller as well as the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra under the direction of Wynton Marsalis. Most recently has performed with Trombonist Delfayo Marsalis and as a leader has been pivotal in the exposing of young talent like Sean Jones.

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. He is now Full Professor at Berklee College of Music, visiting Professor at Princeton University, Artist in Residence Prince Claus Conservatory in Holland as well as a clinician for Mapex Drums, Vic Firth Sticks and Bosphorus Cymbals.

Firehouse 12 Performances

Ralph Peterson's TriAngular III Trio Friday, April 14, 2017, 10:00p
Ralph Peterson Trio Friday, October 30, 2015, 10:00p
Ralph Peterson Fo'tet Augmented Friday, December 6, 2013, 10:00p
Ralph Peterson's Unity Project Friday, December 2, 2011, 10:00p
Jimmy Greene Quartet Friday, March 27, 2009, 10:00p

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