Graydon Peterson completed his bachelor's degree in music composition at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he studied classical bass with James Clute, a former bassist with the Minnesota Orchestra. While a member of the Down Beat award-winning UWEC Jazz Ensemble I, he performed with such guest jazz artists as Lewis Nash, Ingrid Jensen, Jason Marsalis, and Chris Botti. Now a resident of Minneapolis, Peterson is one of the area's top-call bassists, performing nightly with a variety of vocalists and small ensembles including Joyce Lyons, Arne Fogel, Firebell, Charanga Tropical and his own Graydon Peterson Quartet. A consummate accompanist, writer and arranger, he has become one of the backbones of the jazz scene in the twin cities.
The Graydon Peterson Quartet released its eponymous debut on Shifting Paradigm Records in 2011 with Peterson on bass, Adam Meckler on trumpet, Adrian Suarez on drums, and Vinnie Rose on guitar. Since then, the quartet has a slightly different lineup, with Rose has been replaced by pianist Joe Strachan.
Duets is the group's second album, featuring all original compositions by Peterson written for every permutation of two instruments in the old and new quartet. The album opens with a rhythmic oriented duet for trumpet and bass entitled "Attached to a Kite." Next up is the slow, bluesy "Guns and Ammo" duet for drums and bass. An aggressive, combative groove comes next with "Meet me in the Outside" followed by the ethereal "These are the Voyages" and the mesmerizing ballad "Song for the Lost." The energy then picks back up with the odd-metered duet for trumpet and drums "Ran the Whole Way" and the also the bluesy duet for drums and guitar "Two-Headed Giant." A contemplative ballad in 5/4 time comes next on "Vexed." The album closes with the groove-oriented duet for Rhodes and trumpet "Unhealthy Obsession." Duets continues the quartet's exploration into tunes that evoke a wide variety of emotions and energies, pushing what we know as "modern jazz" into new territories.