Ralph Peterson & The Messenger Legacy

“Every time I play the drums, it is in tribute to Art Blakey,” says Ralph Peterson, “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.”  From this generous impulse was born the Messenger Legacy, the Peterson–led unit featuring standout players from multiple generations of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. Saxophonist Bill Pierce was present the night Peterson first sat in with the band at Mikell’s, and was a Messengers mainstay from the late ‘70s through the mid-‘80s. Bassist Essiet Essiet was recommended to Blakey by both Ralph Peterson and saxophonist Bobby Watson, while trumpeter Brian Lynch joined what turned out to be the last edition of the Jazz Messengers before Art Blakey’s death. As for Ralph Peterson, in 1983 he was a fresh–faced 21–year–old personally recruited by Blakey for his two–drummer big band; Peterson learned firsthand from Buhaina himself and remained with the big band until the end. The Messenger Legacy exists to preserve, protect and honor the legacy of a man who was much more than a bandleader to all of its members. This group has the potential of launching renewed appreciation for one of the most important institutions of appren­ticeship in American music history.
Ralph Peterson – drums
Bill Pierce & Donald Harrison – saxophones
Brian Lynch – trumpet
Zaccai Curtis – piano
Essiet Essiet – bass