Ralph Peterson


Art Blakey’s drumming concept grew out of his early experiences in Big Bands. The Blakey approach is very much Big Band Drumming in a small group setting. The Big Bands of 1947 and 1949 and in particular, the iconic Art Blakey Big Band recording of 1959 as well as the 1980’s 11-piece Big band that toured Montreux all had significant impact on the on the young musical mind of Drummer Ralph Peterson. In 1982 Ralph met Mr. Blakey and sat in for the first time. Upon hearing Ralph, Buhaina started talking about putting the Big Band back together and true to his word called Ralph to perform as a Jazz Messenger in the 2 drummer Jazz Messenger Big Band at the Boston Globe Festival in March of 1983. Thirty-five years later Peterson, an established bandleader and mentor of young talent created The Gen-Next Big Band. After making their professional debut at Scullers in Boston in late 2017, the Peterson-led Gen-Next Big Band released their debut recording I Remember Bu: Alive Vol. 4 at Scullers, featuring fellow Art Blakey alum Donald Harrison on October 4th, 2018. Following in the Jazz Messenger tradition of mentorship, the Gen-Next Big Band features an exciting lineup of some of Berklee College of Music’s brightest young musicians and employs Blakey’s signature two-drummer format. The record was so successful that Berklee College assisted in the recording of a second album at Avatar Studios. Due to be released later this year on Ralph’s Onyx Productions Music Label, this project features Jazz Messenger alumni trombonist Frank Lacy as guest soloist.