Pete Rugolo (1915-2011) - JazzWax

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October 20, 2011


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Don Voltmer

Marc, your knowledge of all the many years of jazz constantly amazes and educates me. I have always felt in the 40's many jazz musicians were searching for new ideas that hadn't been tried yet, with the hope that they could become known as true jazz pioneers.

In the early 50's all this experimenting was becoming to be recognized by the jazz critics and fans. All this creative effort culminated in the mid to late 50's into the five Golden Years of Jazz, at least for me, from 1955 to 1959.

I also have felt that more of the best recordings in the history of jazz were produced in 1959, starting with Miles' Kind of Blue.

I see in your list -

"JazzWax tracks: Here's a list of my favorite Pete Rugolo-arranged albums from the '50s:

•June Christy: Something Cool (1953) •Introducing Pete Rugolo and His Orchestra (1954)
•Rugolomania (1954)
•Four Freshmen and Five Trombones (1955)
•Kenton in Hi-Fi (1956)
•Reeds in Hi-Fi (1956)
•Brass in Hi-Fi (1956)
•Music for Hi-Fi Bugs (1956)
•June Christy: Gone for the Day (1957)
•Buddy Collette: Four Swinging Shepherds (1958) •Buddy Collette: At the Cinema (1959)
•Music From Richard Diamond (1959)"

that 9 of the 12 were from my "five Golden Years of Jazz".

Any comments?

Don Voltmer, jazz DJ

Malcolm Moore

Superb story on Pete Rugolo,one of the jazz greats. Of course Mile Davis' Birth of the Cool was one of the classic jazz albums and I didn't realize that Pete Rugolo had produced it. Also enjoyed the Kenton arrangements he did. Ironically just a few days ago I listened to what I believe is his near perfect album, SOMETHING COOL with June Christy a near perfect melding of voice and orchestra. I could listen that one over and over with enjoyment. What a legacy!

Malcolm Moore

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of 55 More Songs," "Anatomy of a Song," "Rock Concert: An Oral History" and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax has won three Jazz Journalists Association awards.
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