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 Thursday, 26 November 2015
Jeanne Petersonís Retirement Party: Holiday Celebration in Hopkins, December 29th PDF Print
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   
Saturday, 29 December 2012

Jeanne Arland Peterson©Andrea Canter

Minnesota’s “First Family of Music” is now four generations deep, and at least three generations will be represented when the Petersons present A Peterson Family New Year at the Hopkins Center for the Arts on December 29th (8 pm). But this is more than a holiday party, as it also marks the official retirement of 91-year-old matriarch Jeanne Arland Peterson, who heads the ensemble with offspring Ricky, Billy, Patty, Linda and Paul Peterson, grandson Jason Peterson DeLaire, and nephews Tommy and Russ Peterson. Jeanne expects to do a few performances in 2013, but this will be her last concert appearance with multi-talented, multi-generational family band. Following the concert, the celebration will continue with an early New Year’s Eve party featuring the Rick Carlson Trio and buffet.


Jeanne Arland Peterson

Although she began playing the piano at age three, Jeanne Arland Peterson did not take a formal lesson until she was 15—shortly before she had her first paying gig.  From then on, her career as a pianist/vocalist was on star trajectory, her approach heavily influenced by the great Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson. Jeanne was the organist for the Minnesota Twins from 1969-71, taking over for husband Willie following his death from cancer. Over the years, Jeanne built a resume that included work with Perry Como, Bob Hope, Dianne Carroll, Sonny Stitt, Roy Eldridge, Bud Shank, and George Benson; she spent 22 years performing on WCCO radio as well as around town on club stages and in recording studios, releasing five solo recordings over her career.  She’s also appeared on Marian McPartland’s acclaimed NPR broadcast, Piano Jazz.

Along with Judy Garland, Jeanne is one of only two women in the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, and two Minnesota governors—Rudy Perpich and Arne Carlson—each declared days in her honor. Additionally, Jeanne was the first woman to receive the prestigious Arts Midwest Jazz Masters Award for excellence in jazz musicianship (1977), and in 2005 was named a Minnesota Jazz Legend at the KBEM Winter Jazz Festival. In 2009, Jeanne was inducted into the Mid-America Music Hall of Fame. Also in 2009, in honor of her then-88 years, Jeanne release 88 Grand, a two-volume retrospective covering her recordings from the 1940s and 50s through the present.

Patty and Paul Peterson©Andrea Canter
Almost as amazing as her 75-year career in music is Jeanne’s role as head of Minnesota’s “First Family of Music.” She now heads three generations of talented musicians who perform locally and nationally, including their recent appearances at the 2011 Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Dakota Jazz Club and Old Log Theater.  It’s hard to find a gig or recording in the Twin Cities that does not include at least one Peterson. 


More Petersons

Jeanne’s daughter Patty Peterson has received the Minnesota Music Award 7 times for Best Female Vocalist and Best Group, and for "Best Jazz Recording" for her debut CD, The More I See You. In addition to her singing career and three solo recordings, she has worked as an actress, print ad model, and national anthem singer, and, for seven straight years, was the number one female radio personality on WCCO radio. Patty currently hosts The Playroom on KBEM radio, airing every Sunday afternoon. Said Jon Bream (Minneapolis Star Tribune), “She can cover anything from Chaka Kahn to Cole Porter with equal authority, exhibiting star quality and drive!" This fall, Patty released The Very Thought of You, with celebrations at the Dakota and Artists Quarter.


Linda Peterson©Andrea Canter
Daughter Linda Peterson began singing on radio, television and on commercials at the tender age of two. For more than two decades, she has toured internationally as a pianist and vocalist, recording two CDs in Copenhagen and another in the U.S. She might be best known for her original composition, “Too Late to Leave Early.” A performance at the famed Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles garnered raves in the LA Times; critic Don Heckman noted that “Her voice has an appealingly burry, late-night edge, and her phrasing is rich with blues-tinged melodic alterations. Equally important, she sings with great respect for both music and lyrics.”


Son Billy Peterson sang in commercials with sister Linda at age 9 and played bass and drums in his father’s ensembles while in junior high. He played in a variety of combos and big bands throughout his high school years, including a summer tour with the Righteous Brothers and a stint with the Lawrence Welk All-Stars. After graduation, Billy played three years with Billy Wallace (Clifford Brown’s pianist) and co-founded the band Natural Life with saxman Bob Rockwell. He has recorded with Leo Kottke and performed or recorded with BB King, Johnny Smith, Lenny Breau, and the late Les Paul. In 1975, he appeared on Bob Dylan’s acclaimed Blood on the Tracks, and a few years later began a long-standing collaboration with Ben Sidran, which led to his two decades touring with the Steve Miller Band. In the past year, Billy has been a constant presence on the Twin Cities jazz scene, particularly performing at the Artists Quarter and as a member of the PipJazz house band. He also appears on Dave King’s new trio recording, I’ve Been Ringing You.


Billy Peterson and Jason Peterson DeLaire©Andrea Canter
Best known for his long-time association with sax legend David Sanborn and as producer/keyboardist for Prince, keyboardist, vocalist, arranger and producer Ricky Peterson has worked with other pop, rock and jazz icons including Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt, Billy Joel, Anita Baker, James Taylor, Mavis Staples, Joe Sample, Sting, Sergio Mendes, Brian Wilson, Ben Sidran, Kirk Whalum, Phil Upchurch, Jimmy Buffet, Fine Young Cannibals, Steve Miller Band, Paula Abdul, Boz Scaggs, Dave Koz, Lalah Hathaway, Sheryl Crow, Jonathon Butler, Bruce Willis, The Jets, Jermaine Jackson, Chaka Khan, Robben Ford, George Benson, Tuck & Patti and John Mayer.

Jeanne’s grandson Jason Peterson De Laire is making is mark on keyboards, saxophone and vocals, as well as through producing and songwriting. He has toured nationally and internationally with renowned artists such as Michael Bolton, Oleta Adams, Prince, Alexander O’Neal, Richard Marx and Donny Osmond, and recently released a solo CD, In My Life.

Jeanne’s nephew Russ Peterson leads his own Big Band, appearing frequently at venues such as the Old Log Theater. He’s also a long-time member of the Barbary Coast Dixieland Band, playing saxophones, trumpet, clarinet, flute and bass, and has been known to play two instruments at once.

Tom Peterson©Andrea Canter
Nephew Tom Peterson majored in saxophone performance and composition at the University of Minnesota and served in the U. S. Army Field Band before moving to the Los Angeles area in 1970.  In LA, Tom has worked in television, records, motion pictures, and jingles for TV and radio, and worked with NBC’s Tonight Show Orchestra with Doc Severinsen for 17 years. His credits also include stints with the Toshiko Akiyoshi – Lew Tabackin Big Band, the Bill Holman Big Band, and currently with The Bob Florence Limited Edition. 

Tickets (a few remain!) to a Peterson Family New Year include the after-party with buffet, photo booth, party favors and dancing to live music from the Rick Carlson Trio.

The Hopkins Center for the Arts is located at 1111 Main Street in downtown Hopkins. Tickets ($45) at 952-979-1111.

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