Ricky Peterson with Bob Mintzer & the WDR Big Band Cologne: Drop Shot

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Ricky Peterson has quite a CV: longstanding keyboard player for David Sanborn, staff producer at Prince’s Paisley Park (where he produced the bestselling “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World”), recording sessions with James Taylor, Donald Fagen and Stevie Winwood as well as production credits for George Benson, Phil Upchurch and Anita Baker. If he can be tagged by any description it would be “funk” with a mix of R&B.

Bob Mintzer is a big band arranger with both a contemporary ear as well as a liking for the sounds of Quincy Jones and Ray Charles. The WDR Big Band is the resident Orchestra for the large German public radio and TV broadcaster – Westdeutscher Rundfunk and based in Cologne.

Despite all that talent, the end result is good but falls short of great. Funk can be a bit formulaic with predictable chords, riffs and changes; and this album uses them all with a fairly hefty dose of R&B added in.

The majority of tracks are covers of songs by Marcus Miller, Sly Stone, Prince, David Sanborn et al. Don’t get me wrong – the musicianship is excellent, especially Peterson on the Hammond organ. However, if you are looking for originality you will need to look elsewhere.

This would be a great band to see in concert and the somewhat sterile environment of a studio does not do them justice. I want to be standing, tapping my feet with a drink in my hand when listening to this. But if you like your funk with a bluesy/R&B feel then this is definitely a CD worth checking out.

Discography
Drop Shot; Feel So Bad; Snakes; I’ve Got News For You; Do For Love; Thanks For Letting Me Be Myself; Full House; Sexy MF (50.36)
Peterson (v, Hammond B3); Paul Peterson (b,v); Bruno Muller (g,v); Gene Lake (d, pcn); Patty Peterson (v); Mintzer (cond) and members of the WDR Big Band Cologne. WDR Studio, Cologne, September 2017.
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