By Gary Fukushima, Downbeat
In 1957, Art Blakey experimented with expanding the Jazz Messengers to a 14-piece band, featuring smart arrangements by trombonist Melba Liston. Thirty years later, he returned to the format, enlisting a young Rutgers grad to sit in the second drum chair. Ralph Peterson had that spot until Blakey’s 1990 death, and he’s never forgotten the experience. Peterson’s Gen-Next Big Band is a direct tribute to that erstwhile large group, a student ensemble in the Blakey mold, right down to a second drummer next to Peterson.
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