Chuck Berghofer

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Chuck Berghofer
Birth nameCharles Curtis Berghofer
Born (1937-06-14) June 14, 1937 (age 81)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
InstrumentsDouble bass

Charles Curtis "Chuck" Berghofer (born June 14, 1937) is an American jazz double bassist who has worked as a studio musician and in the film industry.[1]

Early life[edit]

With a lineage of musicians in the family (his grandfather had played with John Philip Sousa, and his uncle played tuba with the Saint Louis Symphony),[2] Berghofer took interest in music at an early age, playing trumpet at the age of eight. As a child he played the trumpet and tuba in grade school and high school until moving to the double bass at the age of 18. As a young adult, as he began venturing out to jazz night clubs, he came to admire bassist Ralph Peña and was able to persuade Peña to take him on as a student.[1][2]

According to Berghofer he always felt as though his music was heavily influenced by Leroy Vinnegar, Paul Chambers and Ray Brown. He also admired the work of Scott LaFaro and told musician and journalist Gordon Jack, "The best soloist on the instrument was Red Mitchell ... I loved to hear him solo."[1]

Professional career[edit]

Two years after he took up the bass, Berghofer, joined an orchestra, led by Skinnay Ennis for a tour of the midwest[3] and then joined with Bobby Troup.[2] As his career progressed he eventually replaced his former tutor, Peña, in a duo with Pete Jolly which later expanded into a trio with the addition of drummer Nick Martinis.[4] In the 1960s he became a member of Shelly Manne's band,[2] taking on a bassist position at Manne's night club Shelly's Manne-Hole and had the opportunity to play alongside numerous leading jazz musicians of the era including Jack Sheldon, Conte Candoli, Frank Rosolino, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Philly Joe Jones.[1]

He was a member of the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra around 1967 when Frank Zappa recorded the orchestral parts for Lumpy Gravy.[5]

Despite a lengthy career in film, Berghofer, was also quite accomplished as a house jazz musician. He formed a semi-regular house band at Donte's in Los Angeles with pianist Frank Strazzeri and drummer Nick Ceroli and was videotaped having played with Roger Kellaway and drummer Larry Bunker as they backed Zoot Sims.[1] Among others he accompanied were Ray Charles, Bob Cooper, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Peggy Lee, Shelly Manne, Gerry Mulligan, Art Pepper, Frank Rosolino, Seth MacFarlane, and Frank Sinatra.[2]


Having moved to Arcadia, California at the age of 8,[6] as Berghofer made his career as a jazz musician he landed a prominent role recording with Nancy Sinatra in "These Boots Are Made For Walkin". He also worked on television with Glen Campbell, recorded with Frank Sinatra, and played with Barbra Streisand, in which they did a recording of Funny Lady. His film work extends to 400 appearances leading to his being awarded in the mid-1980s the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Award as the most valuable bass player for four consecutive years. In that decade he recorded with Mel Tormé and later recorded again with Sinatra on Duets.[1] Just a few of the films he worked on include Rocky I & II, On Golden Pond, Matrix, Majestic, Clint Eastwood’s Bird, and True Crime. He also worked on such television shows as Barney Miller on which he played the opening bass line, Charlie’s Angels, The Carol Burnett Show, The Simpsons and Star Trek Enterprise.[7]


With Irene Kral

With Peggy Lee

With Shelly Manne

With Carmen McRae

With Ruth Price and Shelly Manne

With Zoot Sims

  • Quietly There: Zoot Sims Plays Johnny Mandel (Pablo, 1984)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Artist Biography". All Media Network.
  2. ^ a b c d e Jack, Gordon (2004). Fifties jazz talk : an oral retrospective. Lanham, Md. [u.a.]: Scarecrow Press. p. 23. ISBN 0-8108-4997-6.
  3. ^ "Profile of Chuck Berghofer". Archived from the original on August 11, 2014.
  4. ^ "Pete Jolly Discography". Archived from the original on April 5, 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  5. ^ "Chuck Berghofer, Musicians Profile".
  6. ^ Stewart, Zan (Oct 9, 1997). "On the Bass Line". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  7. ^ "Chuck Berghofer - One of LA's finest bass players". Archived from the original on November 23, 2014. Retrieved 27 July 2014.

External links[edit]