Ralph Peterson Quintet: Tests of Time (2003)
Such is not the case of drummer Ralph Peterson, who signed to Blue Note in the late '80s. Peterson is certainly not a has-been; rather, it is a sign of the times when a musician of Peterson’s caliber finds himself “at liberty.” Still, the major’s loss is certainly the minor's gain. The collection of high quality post-bop Tests of Time is high above Criss Cross’s usual fare. A great deal of this has to do with Peterson himself, still one of the most exciting drummers and leaders on the scene. A lot has to do with the personnel, which includes such notables as Tom Harrell standard-bearer Jimmy Greene on saxophone and flute, pianist Orrin Evans (yes, another exceptional pianist named Evans), and trumpet firebrand Jeremy Pelt. Together, with bassist Eric Revis, this group generates sparks. If too many Criss Cross albums are merely “good,” Tests of Time is the exception that proves the rule. A thought provoking mix of up-tempo numbers and ballads (including the lovely “Telepathy,”) this album is one of the year’s best.
Track Listing: Respect for Truth; Tests of Time; I Love You; Telepathy; Neo Terra; Ballad for Queen Tiya; Prayer for Columbine; When I Fall In Love; Question; Cheyrl; Dark Prince.
Personnel: Ralph Peterson, drums; Orrin Evans, piano; Jimmy Greene, saxophone, flute; Jeremy Pelt, trumpet, flugelhorn; Eric Revis, bass.
Record Label: Criss Cross