b. Judge Kenneth Peterson, 13 December 1964, Buffalo, New York, USA. Peterson was an exceptionally gifted musician as a child, and this has left him with the problem of harnessing his natural gift to a definable personality.
His father James owned a blues club, the Governor’s Inn, and his son received frequent opportunities to play alongside visiting musicians, although a three-year-old playing organ and drums may have been as much a curiosity as a phenomenon. Two years later he recorded for Willie Dixon; the single, ‘1, 2, 3, 4’, and a subsequent album brought him a degree of celebrity and he made appearances on Tonight and The Ed Sullivan Show. At the age of 17, Little Milton asked him to join his band and after three years, he moved on to spend another three years backing Bobby Bland. While on a European tour with Bland, he recorded his first album as an adult, Ridin’, in Paris. By this time, he had taken up the guitar and subsequent albums such as Lucky Strikes! emphasized his prowess on the instrument. Meanwhile, he became a frequent session musician for other King Snake and Alligator artists, usually as a keyboard player. His move to Verve Records and the release of I’m Ready and Beyond Cool perpetuated his image as a guitarist and allowed him to broaden the scope of his musicianship to include interpretations of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Wonder songs. His work with French horn and trumpet has yet to make its debut on record, but in trying to become the complete musician, Peterson risks subordinating the depth of his talent to a veneer of display. He moved into funk influenced territory with mixed reception in the new millennium.