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Master of the Bass

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Album Review

The previously unreleased privately recorded material included on this 1996 CD features the obscure but talented bassist Ralph Pena performing five spirited duets with pianist Pete Jolly, one with pianist Joe Albany and four trio numbers with Albany and the great altoist Herb Geller (who is heard in top form). The reasonably well-recorded performances include blues, bop and several obscurities (such as "Whims Of Chambers," "While A Cigarette Was Burning" and "I Don't Wanna Be Kissed"). Pena, who died in a car accident in 1969 while in his early forties, was a fine supportive bassist and a good soloist, making this rare material a strong tribute to his talents.


Born: February 24, 1927 in Jarbidge, NV

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s

A fine supportive bassist who was capable of taking worthy solos, Ralph Pena was greatly in demand for modern jazz dates during the 1950s and 60s. Pena started out playing baritone horn and tuba before switching to bass, and at age 15 he began gigging professionally with Jerry Austin (1942-44). He went to college in San Francisco and became a fixture in the West Coast jazz scene. Among Pena's many associations were Nick Esposito, Art Pepper, Vido Musso, Cal Tjader (1950), Billy May, Barney Kessel,...
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Master of the Bass, Ralph Pena
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