We are deeply saddened by the passing of a drumming legend, Ralph Peterson Jr. One of the most distinctive and recognizable drummers in modern jazz drumming, Ralph possessed an incomparable talent behind the drums, leading to countless collaborations with Jazz giants and ultimately led him to be hand-picked by Art Blakey as the second drummer in the legendary Jazz Messenger Big Band. He was a sensational player and taught the drumming world so much, but most importantly the importance of authenticity. In honour of his life, we picked out our top 5 drumming performances of Ralph Peterson…
“Humpty Dumpty” by Chick Corea (PASIC 2013)
This excerpt is taken from Ralphs “Jazz Drums: Mechanics to Musicality” clinic from Pasic 2013, where he performs along to the Chick Corea track “Humpty Dumpty”. His performance on this is simply jaw-dropping!
“Emmanuel The Redeemer” (Meinl Cymbals 2019)
This features Ralph performing “Emmanuel The Redeemer” from the album Dream Deferred, originally written and performed by Ralph and some of the top jazz musicians in the world. It really showcases the vast textures and authenticity Ralph injects into every performance!
“Back To Stay” (Meinl Drum Festival 2015)
Originally written in 1998 by Ralph Peterson And The Fo’tet’, Back To Stay remains one of the most popular Jazz albums composed by Ralph, and if this performance from 2015 is anything to go by, it still holds up today!
Backgammon by Walter Davis Jr (Performed By The Ralph Peterson Trio)
Ralph Peterson Trio
This clip of the Ralph Peterson Trio from 2016 shows the subtle complexity in his playing, so fluid and effortless at times. A true showman and a master of his art!
Open Solo #1 (Meinl Drum Festival 2015)
To round out our picks, we’ve chosen this simply mind-blowing solo from Meinl Drum Festival 2015. You ever just watch a drummer play and smile? Not because it’s funny, but just because of how incredible they are? That pretty much sums up how we felt about this clip. Amazing!
Meinl Drum Festival 2015 Solo
Of course, there are many, MANY great performances from Ralph across his career. From his many albums to his unforgettable live performances, but what he’ll be remembered for most is his unwavering charisma, his empowering and inspiring nature and his masterful ability to push the boundaries of drumming. Rest in peace Ralph Peterson.
Which performance from Ralph is your favourite? Let us know down below!