by Jonathan Blackman and forward by Darryl Yokley for Occhi Magazine

On March 1st, 2021, the light shone a little less bright as the great legend, Ralph Peterson Jr. made his transition.  Ralph was not only a consummate artist of the highest level but an amazing human being who was vibrant and full of life.  His playing career spanned over 35 years, and the impact he made on education has been and continues to be monumental.  There are no words to describe what his loss means to the world of jazz. For the musicians, fans, and students, he is simply irreplaceable.  For his family, I know they mourn the loss of a father, husband, brother, cousin, and much more.  Our thoughts are with them and will continue to be with them.  Ralph knew his time on this earth was coming to a close, and I cannot imagine the thoughts that could have been going through his mind as he faced his fate head-on, but he was a person not to shy away from the truth and he expressed the totality of his truth in this final recording.  I remember the first time hearing this music I was filled with mixed emotions, knowing it would be his last recording.  It brought me joy, sorrow, gratitude, amazement, and a sense of reverence that he was able to create such magnificent work in his last days.  Ralph left nothing in the tank… he gave EVERYTHING he had to the world, and for that, we should be eternally grateful.  Anyone who knew him knew he was larger than life, and, while it might be cliche to say it, I believe he lives on through his music.  Ralph, thank you for your wisdom and gift of music. I hope everyone will enjoy the final gift you left for us.  Rest easy, maestro.

-Darryl Yokley

We still mourn the death of Ralph Peterson and,  while the master drummer may have left us, he did leave us one final gem.  ‘Raise Up Off Me’ is the opus magnum of what was an incredible career.  Peterson combines forces with his Triangular Band, comprising the Curtis Brothers, Zaccai Curtis on piano, and Luques Curtis on bass, and the album featured special guests Jazzmeia Horn and Eguie Castrillo.  Liner notes from his long-time collaborator Orrin Evans are the icing on the cake of the incredible work.

To read the full article click here and also be sure to check out this amazing tribute video for Ralph done by Darryl Yokley and Occhi Magazine!!