Ralph Peterson

Ralph Peterson
Ralph Peterson by Clara Pereira
Photo by by Clara Pereira

It’s a sad week. Master drummer and musician Ralph Peterson passed away on March 1st at the young age of 58.

I remember being obsessed with his instructional DVD, which was also the first time I heard a young Melissa Aldana. In the spirit of Art Blakey, Ralph was committed to carrying on the tradition of mentoring young musicians.

I’ve been a fan of Ralph’s for as long as I can remember, but only got to see him play live once.

In 2018 I met John Riley at the Manhattan School of Music for a lesson. As we were walking down the hall, we could hear drumming in the distance. As we got closer and realized where the sound was coming from, John was concerned and remarked “nobody should be in my office.”

When John opened the door to his office, there was Ralph Peterson, helping a student prepare for a gig. What a surprise! I said hello and told him I was a big fan.

Later that week I made my way over to the Jazz Standard for a Geri Allen tribute concert that Ralph put together with Luques Curtis and Orrin Evans. We spoke briefly after the show and I left with such warm feelings.

Rest in peace, Ralph.

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