Big Band of the Week – Jerry Peterson & the Riverside Big Band

Seven years ago trumpeter Jerry Peterson took over the leadership of Emil Rusinko’s big band after the death of its former leader. Peterson had taught in Anne Arundel County schools, mainly Arundel Junior High, for forty years. He is currently 83 and also leads a brass quintet. The Riverside Big Band, named for the neighborhood in which Peterson grew up in North Carolina, is strictly a rehearsal band. Like the Don Arnold Big Band, which with it shares many musicians, they practice bi-weekly at trumpeter Joe Palanzo’s karate studio.

The band has also released three CDs on Sonority Records since 2011, most recently Orilla Del Mar in 2017. The album’s eighteen tracks range from old standards (e.g. “Have You Met Miss Jones”, “My Romance”, “Take the A Train”) to more modern standards (e.g. “Dolphin Dance”, “Gentle Rain”) and even includes a popular R&B song, Gamble and Huff’s “You’ll Never Find (Another Love Like Mine)”. Ten of the album’s tracks were arranged by local musicians – Warren Kellerhouse, Hank Levy, Al Patacca, Carroll Skinner and John Zontek. Zontek’s arrangement is “Take Five (in 4)! When the recording sessions for the last CD were over, producer Ray Disney commented, “It’s obvious that they were having a lot of fun.” Peterson adds, “That’s always been my approach. We have to have fun, even when I taught junior high.”

This article continues our series on area big bands — if you missed any of them, you can catch them here at Big Band of the Week.