The Gen-Next Big Band: I Remember Bu: Alive Vol. 4 at Scullers
Release Date: October 4, 2018
Release Show: October 4, Scullers, Boston, MA
Label: Onyx Productions

Aggregate Prime: Inward Venture: Alive Vol. 5 at the Side Door
Street Date: October 17, 2018
Pre-Release Show: September 29, Beantown Jazz Fest, Boston, MA
CD Release Shows: October 17-18, Jazz Standard, NYC
Label: Onyx Productions

Following the successful double release of I Remember Bu: Alive Vol. 4 with The Gen-Next Big Band and Inward Venture with Aggregate Prime, iconic drummer, bandleader and Berklee professor Ralph Peterson Jr. is thrilled to continue his restless touring schedule with the Messenger Legacy ensemble. Due to release a new album on May 20th, 2019 on Peterson’s Onyx Productions, The Messenger Legacy band, featuring Bobby Watson, Essiet Essiet, Geoff Keezer, Brian Lynch and Bill Pierce, have announced multiple dates through 2019! The elite line-up of Jazz Messenger alumni will perform in Maryland, California, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, DC, Connecticut, Philadelphia, Greece, Italy, Australia and China.

This upcoming new album is the final piece of the Onyx Productions trilogy which paid homage to and coincided with Art Blakey’s 99th and centennial birthdays. As the last drummer chosen by Blakey to play by his side in the Jazz Messengers, Peterson has a unique responsibility to carry on the Messenger torch and tradition. The current Messenger Legacy configuration has deep roots: Bill Pierce and Bobby Watson were members of the Jazz Messengers when Peterson first sat in with the group and the final Jazz Messengers arrangement featured Peterson with Essiet Essiet, Geoff Keezer and Brian Lynch. Commemorating Art Blakey’s 99th birthday, the Messenger Legacy Band performed at Scullers Jazz Club on this past October 11th.  The band continued the celebrations with performances through the next two nights at the Side Door in Old Lyme Connecticut. This performance was recorded and will now be heard for the very time on this new Spring album, which will coincide with a special performance at the Kennedy Center on May 31st. Nate Chinen at WBGO recently previewed an exclusive track from the new album. Check out “In Case You Missed It” here.

“Every time I play the drums it is in tribute to Art, but I wanted to do something that goes beyond me, beyond any individual.  I wanted to pay tribute in a way that was authentic, genuine, and meaningful not just to a few, but to every person he touched through his music,” says Peterson, adding, “...having multiple generations of Messengers represented in this band, this is the closest you can get to the source.”

With this exciting new 2019 release, Peterson continues to showcase his eclectic, wide-ranging musical palette as well as the power of his personal perseverance after beating cancer twice. On his past two releases, Bill Milkowski at Downbeat noted, "both big band and quintet recordings represent different aspects of Peterson's voracious musical appetite."

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. Wasting no time, The GenNext Big Band have already recorded a second album at Avatar Studios. Due to be released later this year, this project features Jazz Messenger alumni trombonist Frank Lacy as a very special guest soloist.

Onyx Productions’ second release of 2018 was Inward Venture: Alive Vol. 5 at the Side Door, released on October 17th with Peterson’s seminal group Aggregate Prime. This quintet features a who’s-who of modern jazz masters including Gary Thomas on tenor saxophone and flute, Mark Whitfield on guitar, Davis Whitfield on piano, Curtis Lundy on bass and Peterson on drums. A follow up to the group’s 2016 debut Dream Deferred, Inward Venture was recorded at the Side Door in Old Lyme, Connecticut and showcases the exciting group at their most adventurous.

Both of these recent releases received wide acclaim - most notably were two fantastic features from Downbeat and Jazziz. Check them out!

More About Ralph Peterson

Peterson’s prolific recording career began in 1985 with the fabled Blue Note label, with whose house band, OTB (Out of the Blue) he performed as a drummer. He released six Blue Note albums as a leader of different combos, including the “Fo’tet," a quartet whose members have at various times included clarinetist Don Byron, saxophonist Steve Wilson, bassist Belden Bullock and vibraphonist Bryan Carrott. To date, Peterson has released over 20 albums as a leader. His glittering curriculum vitae includes such names as pianists Walter Davis Jr., Geri Allen and Stanley Cowell; trumpeters Terence Blanchard, Tom Harrell, Jon Faddis and Roy Hargrove; saxophonists Michael Brecker, David Murray, Branford Marsalis and Charles Lloyd and vocalist Betty Carter. A bandleader and educator for over 30 years and having played a significant role in launching the careers of Sean Jones, Tia Fuller, Justin Faulkner, and Orrin Evans, among many others. Since 2002, he has taught drums and ensembles at Berklee College of Music.  Peterson is also grateful and proud of the manner in which he has prevailed over physical and personal difficulties. He has lived his life “drink and drug-free" for more than 22 years now. He has survived colon cancer and Bell’s Palsy in addition to multiple orthopedic challenges. In 2010, Peterson founded Onyx Productions Music Label and has released his own music on the label ever since. He proudly endorses Meinl Cymbals including his Signature Series Symmetry 22" Ride and Nuance 21 Crash Ride, Mapex Drums, Evans Drumheads, and Vic Firth Sticks, Mallets and Brushes.

Sat. Feb. 16th, 2019

Rockville, MD

Mid Atlantic Jazz Festival

Thurs. Feb. 21st, 2019

Santa Cruz, CA

Kuumbwa Jazz

Fri. Feb. 22nd, 2019

Los Angeles, CA

The Moss

Sat. Feb. 23rd, 2019

Temecula, CA

The Merc

Sun. Feb. 24th, 2019

Portland, OR

PDX Jazz Festival

Sun. May 19th, 2019

Half Moon, CA

Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society

Tues. & Wed. May 21st & 22nd, 2019

Seattle, WA

Jazz Alley

Fri. May 24th & Sat. May 25th, 2019

Ann Arbor, MI

Blue Llama Jazz Club

Fri. May 31st, 2019

Washington DC

The Kennedy Center

Tues. - Sun. Jun. 5th-9th, 2019

Melbourne, Australia

Bird’s Basement

Thurs. Jun. 13th & Fri. Jun.14th, 2019

Beijing, China

Blue Note

Sat. July 13th, 2019

Sani, Greece

Sani Festival

Sun. July 14th, 2019

Umbria, Italy

Umbria Jazz Festival

Thurs. Oct. 10th, 2019

Pittsburgh, PA

August Wilson Cultural Center

Fri. Oct. 11th - Sun. Oct. 13th, 2019

Old Lyme, CT

Side Door Jazz Club (Live Recording)

For Messenger Legacy

" [With] I Remember Bu, Peterson shows that even when paying homage to an old master, he’s all about paying it forward to mentor the next generation of great jazzers."  Read the full review here.

"Behind the kit, Peterson is vigorous and unrelenting, washing his entire band in polyrhythm in the manner of ‘60s and ‘70s greats like Elvin Jones and Tony Williams." Read the full performance announcement here.

"This performance opens with a Peterson solo that establishes, with avowedly Blakey-esque flair, the form of the piece." Read the WBGO exclusive for "In Case You Missed It" here.

For The Gen-Next Big Band: I Remember Bu: Alive Vol. 4 at Scullers

"Playing with Art Blakey in his big band in Boston 1983 transformed drummer Ralph Peterson’s musical life, so much so that 35 years later he grabbed “the chance to pass a similar experience on to these amazing young musicians”. Read the full review here.

"...the meat of the matter and the center piece of this musical meal are the extraordinary talents of conductor/drummer, Ralph Peterson Jr. and the way he serves it up." Read the full review here.

"It all makes for an exciting, exhilarating and exhaustively entertaining big band workout." Read the full review here.

"...this blazing set just plain smokes throughout."

"Blakey loved big bands and surely would have appreciated this heartfelt tribute by a self-assured and talented group of young musicians." Read the full review here.

Read full "The Rough Road to Immortality" feature here.

"Dedicated To Art “Bu” Blakey I Remember Bu (Onyx Production) is the two-fisted action-packed storm of a debut CD by Ralph Peterson’s Gennext Big Bandas recorded live in Boston at Sculler’s, one of the best jazz rooms in the country." Read the full review here.

"Blakey would have liked this album, as he loved having younger players surrounding him." Read the full review here.

"These fledgling musicians are hungry, and you can sense that in the sound and soul of their performances." Read the full review here.

For Aggregate Prime: Inward Venture: Alive Vol. 5 at the Side Door

"Both big band and quintet recordings represent different aspects of Peterson's voracious musical appetite." Read the full Downbeat feature here.

"The album — Inward Venture: Alive Vol. 5 at the Side Door (Onyx Music) — has all of the brash kinetic energy you’d expect from such an assemblage." Listen to the track premiere for "L's Bop" here.

"Peterson's peripatetic interaction with, especially, guitar and tenor enlivens the proceedings, as he is never just an accompanist but often a co- or supportive soloist himself." Read the full review here

"One band that stood out in its fresh funk and energy was Aggregate Prime, a quintet anchored by the magnetic drummer (and Berklee faculty member) Ralph Peterson." Read more here.

"Purely hot stuff for the discerning jazzbo, this gang knows how to play at the top of their form at the drop of a hat.  Smoking stuff throughout that never lets you down." Read the full review here.

Read full "The Rough Road to Immortality" feature here.


"This guy must have a garage full of shovels, because he knows how to dig deep!" Read the full review here.

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