06.24.13Jeanne Arland Peterson, matriarch of Minnesota jazz, dies at 91
Her two daughters escorted the frail woman to the piano at Hopkins Center for the Arts. After she sat down and put her fingers on the keys, Jeanne Arland Peterson couldn’t have seemed more at home. Her timing was impeccable, her melodies ornate and her sense of rhythm swinging.
For her swan-song performance on a cold night last December, the matriarch of Minnesota jazz was scheduled to perform two piano pieces. She ended up playing several numbers — some solo, others with her music-making children. She even jammed with her kids on a late 1970s R&B chestnut with some funky improvised piano.
Peterson — who spent 22 years in the WCCO Radio house band and three years as the Twins organist, performed with the likes of George Benson, Bob Hope and Perry Como and raised five children who are professional musicians — died Sunday evening at Castle Ridge nursing home in Eden Prairie. She was 91.
“Her heart was as big as her talent,” said Paul Peterson, her youngest child. “She was everybody’s mom. They all called her ‘Mama Jeanne.’ She was always so welcoming. In that basement at her house on Morgan Avenue, everyone from David Sanborn to Steve Miller rehearsed in that basement.”
A pianist and singer, Jeanne Arland Peterson was a force on the Minnesota scene since the 1940s. “Jeanne is one of the best pianists in the Twin Cities. She’s very underrated,” Dakota Jazz Club proprietor Lowell Pickett said in the 1990s. “I’ve heard her burn things up.” She was even playing piano in the nursing home until two weeks ago, Paul said.
In a 2006 interview with the Star Tribune, Peterson, then 85, seemed indefatigable. “My age doesn’t change,” she said. “I started [playing piano] when I was 3 and I just kept going. I feel very young.”
Born in Minneapolis, Jeanne Arland began demonstrating piano sheet music at Dayton’s at age 15 and quickly graduated to gigs in ballrooms and nightclubs, doing schoolwork between sets. She was the featured vocalist on WCCO Radio for more than two decades, with her husband, Willie, playing piano in the station’s orchestra. After he died of cancer in 1969, she took over his gig as organist at Twins games at Met Stadium.
In 1958, she was the featured vocalist in an all-Gershwin program at Met Stadium with the Minneapolis Symphony, under the direction of the great jazz conductor Paul Whiteman, which she considered a career highlight. The redoubtable jazz pianist Marian McPartland encouraged Jeanne to move to New York to make it big but she opted to stay in Minnesota and raise her family.
The singing pianist played organ for Old Log Theater’s children’s shows, performed in nightclubs, concert halls and trade shows, and, in 1988, toured the Soviet Union with Women Who Cook, an all-star Twin Cities female band whose members were young enough to be her children.
Her own children are all professional musicians — singer Linda, bassist Billy (he’s played with Steve Miller Band, Bob Dylan, Ben Sidran, Leo Kottke), singer Patty, keyboardist Ricky (Bonnie Raitt, David Sanborn, Stevie Nicks) and multi-instrumenatlist singer Paul (the Time, the Family, Donny Osmond, Kenny Loggins, Oleta Adams, fDeluxe). And, for the past two decades, the Petersons did annual Christmas concerts together in various Twin Cities venues.
Jeanne’s house in Richfield has always been a hangout for her children and grandchildren — whether it was the swimming pool or band rehearsal in the basement.
Peterson released and recorded six albums, most recently “88 Grand” in 2009. Last fall, she began work on another recording project with Grammy-winning producer/engineer Bruce Swedien, with whom she’d first recorded in the late 1950s.
She received many awards, including the Arts Midwest Jazz Masters prize in 1998, and was named to more than one Minnesota music hall of fame.
“She lived an incredible life and left a great legacy,” said her grandson, saxophonist/keyboardist/singer Jason Peterson DeLaire, who tours in Michael Bolton’s band. “From her, we learned about music and life and love.”
And work ethic.
On Sunday night, four hours after his mom passed, Paul Peterson sat in on an encore, as promised, with reclusive soul star D’Angelo at First Avenue. “It was tough to go play tonight,” he said afterward, “but Mom would have kicked my butt if I didn’t play. It was part of the healing process.”
Peterson is survived by her five children, 13 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Funeral services are pending.
07.27.12Peterson's Announce Family Concert in Dec, 2012
SATURDAY, DEC 29 8:00PM
Minnesota’s First Family of Music will fill the evening with jazz and holiday music from past and present. This will be the only concert the entire Peterson Family will be presenting during the 2012 holidays.
The concert begins at 8:00 and will be followed by a New Year’s Celebration with a light buffet and musical entertainment. Patty will lead everyone in Auld Lang Syne at midnight. Plan to be festive, this event is a fundraiser for the arts and proceeds will go to help support arts programming at the HCA.
MORE ABOUT THE PETERSON FAMILY NEWS YEARS CELEBRATION CONCERT
Click the link to Hopkins Center for the Arts that is below and to the right
Hopkins Center for the Arts.
DISCOUNTS Members save $5 | Call Box Office for group rates
§ Buy tickets online
§ ORDER BY PHONE
§ ORDER IN PERSON
at the Box Office
02.08.12Nice blog about Billy Peterson
© Andrea Canter
Outside of the Twin Cities, Billy Peterson is probably best known for his two+ decades of work with the Steve Miller Band. But here at home, and particularly over the past six months, Billy literally has served as the house bassist at the Artists Quarter, appearing with a wide range of jazz artists from vocalists to quartets and trios, from established bands to new configurations. He’s also been working steadily with vocalist Pippi Ardennia as her “house band” bassist for the monthly PipJazz concert series at Landmark Center, a stirring blend of down-home jazz, blues and R&B.
Do not, under any circumstances or any label, underestimate Billy’s jazz chops, which are among the best anywhere. Listen to his comping. Better yet, listen to his sleight-of-hand solos.
Last week, I happened to catch Billy two consecutive nights at the AQ, with the Phil Aaron Trio and then with the Chris Lomheim Trio. With both ensembles, he played “I Hear a Rhapsody,” leading into the tune with a long solo and pretty much leading the way through the tune to the finish. The particulars varied across the two nights, of course, and for me the standout moments came in his dueling with Lomheim.
On that second night, midway into “Rhapsody,” as Billy and his instrument spun through their exquisite pas de deux, my friend leaned over and whispered, “You can tell, he really loves that bass.”
So do we.
11.06.11Great Review for Patty from her gig in LA by legendary journalist Don Heckman
Singer Patty Peterson made one of her rare Southland appearances Wednesday night at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. in Bel Air. And, not surprisingly, the broad vowel sounds of Minnesota-speak were heard throughout the enthusiasic audience. Why? Because the tall, raven-haired Peterson belongs to Minneapolis’s First Family of Music, whose various siblings, cousins and offspring can be heard with groups reaching across the full musical spectrum. No wonder L.A.’s Minnesota contingent turns out whenever one of the Petersons is in town to sing or play.
Solidly backed by the responsive musical support of pianist Lou Forestieri, bassist Pat Senatore, drummer Jimmy Branley and, yes, cousin Tom Peterson on saxophones, Patty offered a show dedicated to a program of classics from the Great American Songbook. And made the most of it.
Blessed with a sturdy voice, a storyteller’s sense of phrasing and a buoyant rhythmic swing, she delivered many of her numbers in larger than life interpretations. Opening with a lyrical take on the verse to “Gypsy In My Soul,” accompanied solely by the sensitive piano work of Forestieri, she then dug into a brisk, grooving romp through the familiar melody, announcing the spirited vitality that would energize the balance of her set.
Other classics received similarly upbeat treatment: a high speed rendering of “I Want To Be Happy” and — surprisingly — equally upbeat, rhythmically driven versions of ”Time After Time” and “Nature Boy.” In each case, Patty made the songs her own, often soaring through musically evocative, blues-tinged paraphrases of such well-known melodies as “Love For Sale” and “Just In Time.”
In contrast, a pair of Michel Legrand songs — “I Will Wait For You,” from his gorgeous score for The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” written with the Bergmans — stimulated more intimate, more richly layered interpretations. And the results represented some of the evening’s most memorable numbers.
In fact, if there was anything missing from this otherwise entertaining program, it was the presence of a larger portion of similarly intimate musical moments — moments like those on her new CD, The Very Thought of You. Patty can — and did — energize a room with her high-spirited, big-voiced, take-no-prisoners command of the American Songbook. And I’ll bet a similar approach works well on a chilly Minneapolis night.
But on a warm, L.A. evening, more diversity in her interpretations would have made a difference. Given the rarity of Patty Peterson’s Southland appearances, one couldn’t help but wish for an opportunity to experience a more far-reaching view of the full, expressive vistas of this talented songstress.
Ricky's personal web site gets a facelift - releases a "Best Of" CD.
He is also on the road with Stevie Nicks, and will be on the road with David Sanborn in 2012
09.27.11Paul Peterson (St. Paul)
Paul's band fDeluxe has just released the long anticipated CD called "Gaslight." - The band was formerly known as "The Family."
09.01.11Jason Peterson DeLaire tours with Oleta Adams and fDeluxe
Jason is in high demand, and is on tour with both Oleta Adams and his Uncle's band fDeluxe.
Check Oleta's link above. or www.fDeluxe.com
12.14.10Linda Peterson releases new CD!
Aomantic vocal cd by internationally accaimed jazz vocalist Linda Peterson, featuring spectacular guitar work by Argentina's famed guitarist, Luis Salinas.
06.26.07Jeanne Arland Peterson in Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine
Jeanne Arland Peterson is the matriarch of the Peterson Family, also known as Minnesota's "first family" of music.