35

Ralph Peterson: The Duality Perspective

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Balance is often overlooked in music criticism, yet it's such an important aspect in music-making and life. Light doesn't exist without dark, bold only takes shape when placed next to bland and earthbound realities are only truly understood by those who also know how to take flight. Drummer/educator Ralph Peterson understands this better than most, and The Duality Perspective documents his balanced outlook for all to hear.

This album is really two records in one, as Peterson splits the program between the latest incarnation of his two decade-old Fo'tet and his sizzling sextet, but the veteran maintains a sense of presentational continuity across these ten tracks. Part of the reason for this has to do with the bonds formed between the musicians and a shared philosophical outlook on how music should be made. The large majority of the players on this date have come under the expert tutelage of Peterson in some way, shape or form, and their connection and affection shows.

The other key to consistency here, which goes beyond the borders of either band, is Peterson himself. His pulse is the real connective tissue between the sounds of both groups. His drumming is always informed by a panoramic understanding of music, as he takes in the big picture and the small details at the same time. Peterson also posits that contrast is key to the realization of possibilities in performance, and understands that music, like life, can be a thing of beauty one minute and a slap in the face the next. He possesses a toolkit full of technique and taste that he uses to put every piece in good working order.

The clarinet and vibraphone-focused Fo'tet finds its footing with the swing-funk hybrid feel of "One False Move," takes Thelonious Monk's music to new places with an odd-metered Latin-ized look at "4 in 1," and wears its collective heart on its sleeve during "Addison And Anthony," which Peterson wrote for his twin grandchildren. The sextet is more typical in construction, with bass, drums, piano and occasional percussion in the back lot and saxophone(s) and trumpet out front, but the music still works off of the same sense of organic motion—flexible, yet focused—that's felt on the Fo'tet material. Saxophonists Tia Fuller and Walter Smith III sound terrific in this setting, but trumpeter Sean Jones is the undisputed star. His work on the final tracks—"You Have Know Idea" and "Pinnacle""—takes the music to new heights.

Peterson proudly displays the roots of his artistry on the album cover by name-checking mentors/heroes, but the music isn't about looking back at the past; The Duality Perspective thrives on the here and now.

Track Listing: One Flase Move; 4 In 1; Addison And Anthony; Bamboo Bends In A Storm; Princess; Coming Home; Impervious Gems; The Duality Perspective; You Have Know Idea; Pinnacle.

Personnel: Ralph Peterson: drums; Joseph Doubleday: vibraphone; Alexander L.J. Toth: bass; Felix Peiki: clarinet, bass clarinet; Luques Curtis: bass; Zaccai Curtis: piano; Sean Jones: trumpet; Walter Smith III: tenor saxophone; Tia Fuller: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Bryan Carrott: marimba (2); Reinaldo Dejesus: percussion (2, 4, 7, 9); Edwin "Eddie" Bayard: percussion (7, 10); Victor Gould: piano (9, 10).

Title: The Duality Perspective | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Onyx Music Label


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Heart Knows CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Jersey CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Wobbly Danse Flower CD/LP/Track Review Wobbly Danse Flower
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Carry Fire CD/LP/Track Review Carry Fire
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 22, 2017
Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "Crop Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Crop Circles
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Sedimental You" CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "Tetrawind" CD/LP/Track Review Tetrawind
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "Hush Point III" CD/LP/Track Review Hush Point III
by Budd Kopman
Published: January 8, 2017
Read "Common Ground" CD/LP/Track Review Common Ground
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 16, 2017
Read "Alto Manhattan" CD/LP/Track Review Alto Manhattan
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 18, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.