The Locomotive Has Come To A Standstill

The jazz world has lost two more of its many great musicians. Ralph Peterson and Duffy Jackson died within a few days. Peterson has been a star drummer for decades and he was involved in more than 150 records and played with Uri Caine, Branford Marsalis and Terence Blanchard. His style shaped numerous famous jazz bands. Because of his class, fans saw him as the locomotive of his bands, pulling everyone else behind him. Now Peterson died after his fight against cancer.

Ralph Peterson attached great importance to a thorough training as a musician. He passed on his knowledge and taught as a professor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston / Massachusetts. In interviews, he told us that you first have to learn to play like other musicians. That is the only way to develop your style. All schools would immediately urge their students to create their tone. But that is not possible in this form. While the jazz world called him one of the best drummers in jazz, he only claimed to copy the styles of others and to combine them. Peterson recommended a similar approach to his students. They should take what they liked from jazz history and forget about the rest. He had achieved a great career with it.

Characterized By A Musical Family

For many decades he was in great demand as a studio musician. His grandfather and uncle were both passionate drummers. Even as a child, he devoted himself to this instrument. But first, he learned the trumpet and only later switched to the drums. He played in a hard bop band in high school. The critics loved his punchy style. They once called his game mercurial. He mostly concentrated on the swing rhythm and spiced it up with his improvisations and acoustic instrumentation, led by clarinet, vibraphone and bass.

His training as a musician, on the other hand, was anything but easy. He studied at university with jazz guitarist Ted Dunbar. That was considered particularly strict. Peterson struggled and rose to become a master himself. He put a lot of emphasis on listening to records. The drummer was sure that you could only improvise well after listening to records. He described the theory from the books as mostly wrong. Peterson influenced numerous well-known jazz musicians, such as Mark Whitfield Jr. and Kush Abadey. He had suffered from cancer for five years and died from it on March 1st.

Characterized By A Musical Family
Characterized By A Musical Family

Two days later, the famous big band drummer Duffy Jackson passed away. He played with the superstars of the scene, including Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald and Lionel Hampton. Jackson was known as a jazz prodigy by the age of ten. He was a regular member of Count Basie’s Big Band. In recent years Jackson has taught music and has appeared as a visiting professor at various universities. There he also appeared together with young big bands.