Born in Pleasantville, New Jersey in 1962, drummer Ralph Peterson Jr. was learning the drums by age three. By age seven, he learned to read music as a result of his trumpet studies. In 1980, Peterson was accepted into the Jazz Studies program at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Some of his teachers there included Kenny Barron, Paul Jeffrey and drummer Michael Carvin.
Ralph Peterson has worked with many jazz greats, amongst others Art Blakey, Uri Caine, Tom Harrell, Stanley Cowell, the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine, Walter Davis Jr., Jon Faddis, Terrence Blanchard, Branford Marsalis, Stanley Turrentine, David Murray, the Count Basie Orchestra, Betty Carter, and Michael Brecker.
Ralph Peterson's recording career began in 1985 with the Blue Note stable band OTB (Out of the Blue). Shortly thereafter, he was signed to the Blue Note Label as a leader and released six critically acclaimed recordings. His debut project V, won him the prestigious Swing Journal Gold Disc Award. Ralph has since recorded two CD's for the Evidence label and two CD's for the British Sirocco Jazz label, which featured Michael Brecker.
As an educator, Ralph has been on the faculty at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, has been an artist in residence at Princeton University and is presently a Professor at Long Island University, The New School, the New Jersey Performing Arts Centers Jazz for Teens program, and Rutgers University.