Rugolo, Pete [Pietro ]
- Brian Priestley
(b San Piero Patti, Sicily, Italy, Dec 25, 1915; d Sherman Oaks, CA, Oct 16, 2011). Arranger and composer of Italian birth. He was one of the generation of jazz composers and arrangers who studied under darius Milhaud . While still a serviceman he sold his arrangement “Opus a Dollar Three Eighty” to Stan Kenton and became Kenton’s full-time collaborator during the band’s period of greatest success (1945–9). The large number of Rugolo’s compositions recorded by Kenton feature all the genres associated with the band, but little that was memorable outside the hothouse atmosphere of Kenton’s organization. As a record producer Rugolo had the distinction of commissioning the famous Miles Davis nonet sessions of 1949–50, but the recordings with his own band in 1954 and subsequent albums under his name showed a tendency to turn attractive ideas about orchestration into gimmickry. In the 1950s, earlier than most of his jazz-influenced colleagues, Rugolo found a niche writing background music for films and for television series, and he subsequently composed for dozens of shows such as “Leave it to Beaver,” “The Fugitive,” “The Thin Man,” and “Dr. Kildare.” He also composed music for television movies and feature films....