220

Ralph Peterson: The Art of War

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
Ralph Peterson: The Art of War Just on the verge of marking his 40th year on the planet, drummer Ralph Peterson is not old enough to be considered an elder statesmen, but certainly has moved passed the period usually defined with being a young lion. He’s had his ups and downs and seems to be currently on a new path towards documenting his own projects. It’s a shame that his Blue Note tenure was so short lived and that all of his records for that label are currently out of print because sets such as Volition served as a watermark for the kind of Nuevo hard bop that has always been part and parcel of Peterson’s animated line of attack.

Taking things one step further but certainly part of the continuum set forth in his Blue Note projects, The Art of War just may be Peterson’s most mature statement to date. It’s his first for Criss Cross and he makes the most of the occasion, introducing a young band that includes trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, saxophonist Jimmy Greene, pianist Orrin Evans, and bassist Eric Revis. The lion’s share of tunes come from the drummer’s pen and he continues to electrify with his own take on the post bop vernacular.

”Freight Train” just might be the most archetypical performance of the lot, straddling between a heavy backbeat and straight ahead swing. Jeremy Pelt, who is taking the current jazz scene by storm, gets into some incendiary moments as he repeats one note over and over, building up momentum and then resolving with a sly quote from Miles Davis’ “Jean Pierre.” The trumpeter’s own “Inner Sanctum” and “Apocalypse” show that he’s been listening to Davis classics circa 1966, but while these inspirations show themselves in his writing, his playing is a more personal amalgam.

As typical of Peterson’s art, the drums take a prominent role in the mix. So routines like “Smoke Rings” and “Monief” have the drummer skating in and out of the lead voices in a balancing act that marks Peterson as one of the great post-Elvin innovators. Meanwhile, Orrin Evans keeps the backgrounds awash with the kind of dense textures and empathetic interplay that have distinguished his own Criss Cross releases, which often also feature Peterson.

Like a perfect club set, The Art of War moves in varied ways and balances periods of intense and exploratory swing with more inward and romantic moments. It’s a wholly mature statement from an artist who continues to redefine the jazz language for now and hopefully into succeeding decades.


Track Listing: The Art of War, Inner Sanctum, Freight Train, All My Tomorrows, Apocalypse, A Choice Not Taken, Smoke Rings, Portrait of Jenny, Monief, Big Jimmy

Personnel: Ralph Peterson (drums), Jeremy Pelt (trumpet and flugelhorn), Jimmy Greene (tenor and soprano saxophones), Orrin Evans (piano), Eric Revis (bass)

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Criss Cross | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "3 Compositions (EEMHM) 2011" CD/LP/Track Review 3 Compositions (EEMHM) 2011
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "The Beauty of Disaster" CD/LP/Track Review The Beauty of Disaster
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 22, 2016
Read "Som før" CD/LP/Track Review Som før
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 4, 2016
Read "Live At Zaal 100" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Zaal 100
by John Sharpe
Published: June 24, 2016
Read "The Ray Davies Songbook" CD/LP/Track Review The Ray Davies Songbook
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 2, 2016
Read "Atmosphères" CD/LP/Track Review Atmosphères
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 2, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!