by Steve Bryant, Philadelphia Sun

November 16, 2019

The Annenberg Center Presents

“The Messenger Legacy;”

The Art Blakey Centennial feat. Ralph Peterson

For the better part of five decades, legendary drummer Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers were a finishing school/university for several generations of accomplished jazz players.  A great number of them, like Lee Morgan, Benny Golson, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, and Wynton and Branford Marsalis, made a name for themselves and joined the jazz Pantheon. Veteran drummer Ralph Peterson has put together a reunion band, which is also a heartfelt tribute to “Buhaina,” as he was known by his proteges, himself.  Peterson is especially suited to lead this project as the only drummer ever to play in the band with the master himself. Over three decades, Peterson has led a variety of ensembles, ranging from trio to a big band which has served as a training ground of  great young musicians.  For the occaision, Peterson brought together two generations of Messengers alumni, including altoist Bobby Watson, and tenorman Bill Pierce, who were part of the group which revived the Messenger brand during the 70s and 80s, as well as bassist Essiet Essiet, and trumpeter Brian Lynch, who were part of the last cohort of this groundbreaking ensemble. Pianist Zaccai Curtis, who has become a protege of Peterson’s, rounds off  this top-notch unit.  Those who make it to this historic performance with be rewarded with an evening of hard-swinging music.

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