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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Music For Hi-Fi Bugs - Pete Rugolo

For Hi-Fi Bugs
Music For Hi-Fi-Bugs
Conducted And Arranged By Pete Rugolo
Recorded from July 9 through July 11, 1956
EmArcy MG 36082


Pete Rugolo
David Klein
Ronald Langinger
Harry Klee
Gene Cipriano
Dave Pell
Chas. T. Gentry
Don Paladino
Maynard Ferguson
Walter P. Candoli
Ray S. Linn
Milton Bernhart
Frank Rosolino
Herbert Harper
George Roberts
John Cave
Vincent de Rosa
Clarence Karella
Shelley Manne
Lawrence Bunker
Jos. Mondragon
Howard Roberts
Russell Freeman
Marion Childers

From the back cover: In case there may be a few bugs for whom the hi-fi title was an attraction while the Rugolo name remained unfamiliar, let us recapitulate briefly a few facts that are, to most jazz fans, part of Chapter One in any course on modern jazz. Born in San Piero, Sicily in 1915, Pete came to the U.S. at the age of five, when his family settled in Santa Rosa, Cal. The product of a family that included two sisters and one father in music, Pete earned his MA at Mills College, where his teacher was Darius Milhaud. From the late 1930s he was pianist in various dance bands around San Francisco and Oakland; later, around 1940 - 41, he was sideman with Jimmie Grier and Johnny Richards.

It was during his Army service, which lasted from Nov. 1942 until late 1945, that Pete submitted a sample arrangement to Stan Kenton. After holding on to it for several months without looking at it, Stan belatedly observed signs of latent talent in the manuscript, made a transcription of the arrangement, and put Pete on staff as soon as his civilian life was resumed. From then until 1949, when he left Kenton and became free-lance writer (he has been living in Los Angeles since 1950) Pete Rugolo was a guiding force in the shaping of the Kenton band style during its peak era of popularity.

During his recent years as a Hollywood independent, Pete has assumed a variety of responsibilities – everything from vocal backgrounds to jazz sessions to movie soundtrack work has come his way, the film assignments including "Everything I Have Is Yours," "Easy To Love," "Latin Lovers," "Glory Alley" and "The Strip." With this variegated background, Pete was ideally equipped to live up to the instructions, or rather, the lack of them, when Bob Shad told him that on his first Em-Arcy album he could do anything he liked, with complete freedom as to choice of material, personnel and size of orchestra, and style of the interpretations.

Accordingly, the first side starts out with the title number, tailor-made by Pete for the occasion, designed to show all the highs, lows, and middles of the frequency range as well as to exhibit the finesse of the orchestra in both ensemble and solo capacities. Note the use of tympani by Larry Bunker in the introduction, the alto sax work by Ronny Long, the muted trumpet by Pete Condoli, the piano work of Russ Freeman.

One additional note from the back cover: An interesting aspect of the session for hi-fi bugs is the system of recording. Only one microphone was used – a counterrevolutionary procedure in these days of multiple mikes, tape tricks and recording gimmicks.

From Billboard - December 1, 1956: Pete Rugolo can always be counted on for a provocative listening experience – and he has planned an LP here that will be the talk of many strata of Jazzville. He has a big band composed of leading West Coast "modern" jazzmen and he puts them thru a number of highly original, and sometimes pungently dissonant, exercises. There is a variety of instrumentations and voicing that keeps the ear ever alert to the goings-on. Material consists of several originals and off-beat standards. Personnel include Shelley Manne, Maynard Ferguson, Dave Pell, Frank Rosolino, etc. Good listening for it's own sake – but an added kick because of its brilliant sound reproduction.

For Hi-Fi Bugs
Once In A While
Fawncy Meeting You
These Foolish Things
Later Team
Oscar And Pete's Blues
Dream Of You


  1. That is a true Manic Mark Magical Musical Moment. I need to find this.

  2. This cover reminds me of Syd Barrett's second solo album.


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