Ralph Pena

Ralph Raymond Peña (February 24, 1927, Jarbidge, Nevada - May 20, 1969, Mexico City) was an American jazz double bassist and composer.

Peña learned to play low brass instruments as a child and began playing professionally in the early 1940s, becoming known as a jazz double bassist. In this capacity, in the early 1950s he worked with Charlie Barnet, Stan Getz, Barney Kessel, Billy May, Jack Montrose, Vido Musso, Art Pepper, Duane Tatro, and Cal Tjader. He recorded with Shorty Rogers from 1955 to 1958, appearing with Rogers in the film The Man with the Golden Arm in 1955, and also played with Jimmy Giuffre in 1955 and 1956 and Buddy DeFranco in the late 1950s. He played in a duo with Pete Jolly from 1958 to 1962 and occasionally recorded with Jolly, Giuffre, and Rogers together. In the early 1960s he worked with Ben Webster, Frank Sinatra, George Shearing, Joe Pass, Bud Shank, Dick Grove, Anita O'Day, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nancy Wilson. Late in the 1960s he worked on film soundtracks. In 1969, in Mexico City, where he had been working on a score, Peña was killed as a pedestrian in an automobile accident.

Birth and Death Data: Born February 24th, 1927 (Nevada), Died May 20th, 1969 (Mexico City)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1955 - 1956

Roles Represented in DAHR: string bass

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Decca 89308 2/21/1956 Man with the golden arm-Main theme Elmer Bernstein Orchestra instrumentalist, string bass  
Decca 89309 2/21/1956 Clark Street Elmer Bernstein Orchestra instrumentalist, string bass  
Decca L 8442 5/25/1955 When you're near-2 Jack Millman Orchestra instrumentalist, string bass  
Decca L 8443 5/25/1955 So goes my love-1, 3 Jack Millman Orchestra instrumentalist, string bass  
Decca L 8444 5/25/1955 Too much Jack Millman Orchestra instrumentalist, string bass  
Decca L 8857 12/15/1955 Clark Street: The top ; Homecoming-1 ; Antek's Elmer Bernstein instrumentalist, string bass  
Decca L 8858 12/15/1955 Zosh Elmer Bernstein instrumentalist, string bass  
Decca L 8860 12/15/1955 Frankie machine-2 Elmer Bernstein instrumentalist, string bass  
Decca L 8861 12/15/1955 The fix Elmer Bernstein instrumentalist, string bass  
Decca L 8862 12/15/1955 Molly Elmer Bernstein instrumentalist, string bass  
Decca L 8863 12/15/1955 Breakup: Flight/Louie's/Burlesque Elmer Bernstein instrumentalist, string bass  
Decca L 8864 12/15/1955 Sunday morning Elmer Bernstein instrumentalist, string bass  
Decca L 8865 12/15/1955 Desperation Elmer Bernstein instrumentalist, string bass  
Decca L 8866 12/15/1955 Audition Elmer Bernstein instrumentalist, string bass  
Decca L 8867 12/15/1955 The cure: Withdraw/Cold/Morning Elmer Bernstein instrumentalist, string bass  
Decca L 8868 12/15/1955 Finale Elmer Bernstein instrumentalist, string bass  
Decca L 9113 4/2/1956 Drag for beers Leith Stevens' All-Stars instrumentalist, string bass  
Decca L 9114 4/2/1956 Prelude to a rumble Leith Stevens' All-Stars instrumentalist, string bass  
Decca L 9115 4/2/1956 Bewildered Leith Stevens' All-Stars instrumentalist, string bass  
Decca L 9116 4/2/1956 Black rebel's ride Leith Stevens' All-Stars instrumentalist, string bass  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Pena, Ralph," accessed May 13, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/337022.

Pena, Ralph. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved May 13, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/337022.

"Pena, Ralph." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 13 May 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/337022

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