Pete Rugolo

Pete Rugolo was a jazz composer and arranger. He was born in San Piero Patti, Sicily. His family emigrated to the United States in 1920 and settled in Santa Rosa, California. He started his musical career playing the baritone, like his father, but he quickly branched out into other instruments, notably the French horn and the piano. He received a bachelor's degree from San Francisco State College, and then studied composition with Darius Milhaud at Mills College in Oakland, California.

After he graduated, he was hired as an arranger and composer by guitarist and bandleader Johnny Richards. He spent World War II playing with Paul Desmond in an army band. After WWII Rugolo went to work for Stan Kenton who headed one of the most progressive big bands of the time. Rugolo provided arrangements and original compositions that drew on his knowledge of 20th century music, sometimes blurring the boundaries between the ballroom and the concert hall.

While Rugolo continued to work occasionally with Kenton in the 1950s, he spent more time creating arrangements for pop vocalists, including June Christy, Peggy Lee and the Four Freshmen. During this period he also worked for a while on musicals at MGM, and served as an A&R director for Mercury Records in the late 1950s. Among his many albums were Adventures In Rhythm, Introducing Pete Rugolo, Rugolomania, Reeds In Hi-Fi and Music For Hi-Fi Bugs.

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May 22, 2020

Pete Rugolo and the Beaver

September 15, 2016

Rugolo, Kenton and Bardot

August 25, 2016

Pete Rugolo's Leadership LPs

November 19, 2013

Stereo Experiments West

October 20, 2011

Pete Rugolo (1915-2011)

October 19, 2011

Pete Rugolo, 1915-2011

October 19, 2011

Jeff Sultanof on Pete Rugolo

Photos

Albums

Adventures in Sound

Unknown label
2007

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Study In Stereo

Concord Music Group
1963

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Music From Out Of...

Concord Music Group
1959

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Rhythm Meets Rugolo

Concord Music Group
1959

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The Music From...

Concord Music Group
1959

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Richard Diamond Theme

Concord Music Group
1959

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