Pino Rucher

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Pino Rucher
Pino Rucher at the guitar.jpg
Background information
Born (1924-01-01)January 1, 1924
Manfredonia, Italy
Died August 16, 1996(1996-08-16) (aged 72)
San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Guitarist, arranger
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1946-1983

Pino Rucher (1924 – 1996) was an Italian guitarist active in orchestral settings and in film soundtracks.

Biographical notes and musical career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Rucher started playing the guitar at an early age, when his father came back from the United States in 1933 and presented him with a guitar. His parents decided that he should take private music lessons. After a few years’ study, he started playing in public in his hometown and even in such important cities as Naples and Bari, where he was able to obtain records, guitar scores and other musical material which was not easy to find elsewhere.

American Influence[edit]

The presence of American troops in the province of Foggia (and particularly in the area of Manfredonia, Rucher’s hometown), between 1943 and 1946, represented a fundamental step for Pino Rucher’s musical career. Rucher joined several Allied Army’s orchestras, some members of which were talented musicians, thanks to whom he came into contact with American musical atmosphere and jazz.[1]

Pino Rucher with the Vitale Orchestra

In 1946 he entered the Carlo Vitale orchestra after coming first in a competition for the position of guitarist at Radio Bari (several candidates from everywhere in Italy participated in that competition).[1][2][3]

After the dissolution of the Vitale orchestra, which had become famous thanks to Radio Bari (a broadcasting station that played a relevant role in the post-war years), Pino Rucher went to work for Radio Milano as a member of the Carlo Zeme orchestra. In the Fifties and the early Sixties he also had the opportunity to work with two forerunners of Italian swing (borrowed from American style), Pippo Barzizza and Cinico Angelini.[2]

Angelini Orchestra[edit]

Cinico Angelini selected Pino Rucher as a permanent member of his new orchestra, with which Rucher worked for about ten years participating in a great number of events and distinguishing himself for his remarkable exhibitions and solos. Some of these events are the First International Song Festival in Venice in 1955 and several San Remo Music Festivals, among which the 1957 Festival, where Claudio Villa came first with Corde della mia chitarra.

Pino Rucher at the guitar with the Angelini Orchestra

Pino Rucher Collaborations[edit]

In those years he took part in a great number of musical events and radio and television broadcasts (San Remo Music Festivals, Naples Festivals, Festival delle Rose, Mostra Internazionale di Musica Leggera in Venice, Canzonissima, Gran Varietà, Studio Uno, etc.) playing in a number of orchestras and, at the same time, went on cultivating his passion for American music, as can be seen from hundreds of his transcriptions, with his own arrangements, which he made after listening to the records of such famous guitarists as Barney Kessel, Wes Montgomery, Tal Farlow, Joe Pass.[2] He devoted himself to jazz and performed in live concerts or in studios under the direction of well-known conductors, among whom Wolmer Beltrami, Mario Bertolazzi, Bruno Biriaco, Claude Bolling, Giorgio Gaslini, Barry Guy, Gil Evans, Albert Mangelsdorff, Chris McGregor, Misha Mengelberg, Nigel Morris, Evan Parker, Roberto Pregadio, Berto Pisano, Enrico Rava, Franco Riva, Marcello Rosa, George Russell, Paul Rutherford, Archie Shepp, Kenny Wheeler.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10] The relevant influence of American music can be noticed even from his performance of some famous Italian songs, among which E se domani and Una zebra a pois (sung by Mina), or Amore Twist (sung by Rita Pavone), which are noticeably spiced with some jazz flavour.[11] He also worked for orchestra conductor and composer Elvio Monti, who asked him to play in a number of his recordings; for example, it is Rucher who plays the guitar in L’Estasi (lyrics by Armando Stula) a composition written by Monti for Andrea Giordana and Marina Solinas.

Pino Rucher took part in a famous RAI production, Sorella Radio which was so successful that in 1966 all the musicians of the RAI Orchestra were welcomed by Pope Paul VI, who gave them a medal.[12] From the second half of the Seventies to December 1983 Pino Rucher was particularly engaged in playing in concerts as a guitarist in the RAI orchestra Ritmi moderni, which came to be known as the RAI Big Band.

Pino Rucher is given a medal by Pope Paulus VI

In 1984, owing to health problems, he stopped working for RAI, left Rome and retired. Guitarist Pino Rucher is included in The Jazz Discography by Tom Lord, a relevant work of music history, also published in CD-ROM and enjoyable on line.[13] Having worked for RCA, he also appears in C'era una volta la RCA, the prestigious work by Maurizio Becker.[14]

Other activities[edit]

Another relevant aspect of Pino Rucher’s musical activity consists in his performances in film soundtracks from the late Fifties to the mid Seventies: at least two hundred performances deserve a mention, especially those under the direction of such orchestra conductors as Luis Enriquez Bacalov, Gianni Ferrio, Elvio Monti, Ennio Morricone, Riz Ortolani.[2][15]

Pino Rucher was the first guitarist to play the electric guitar in Italian westerns, following Master Ennio Morricone’s genial inspiration, performing as Electric Guitar Soloist in A Fistful of Dollars.
It is worth mentioning that Pino Rucher also appears in some shots from San Remo la grande sfida, a 1960 movie including scenes from the San Remo Music Festival. During his career he distinguished himself in various artistic experiences, being at ease in every musical genre he tried, as is proved by his brilliant performance in such musicals as Alleluja brava gente (which was also published in vinyl records) or by his skilful guitar ideas present in so many Italian songs, such as Casetta in Canadà (sung by Carla Boni), Flamenco Rock (Milva), Se non ci fossi tu (Mina), Andavo a cento all’ora (Gianni Morandi), Che m’importa del mondo (Rita Pavone), L’edera (Nilla Pizzi), Adesso no (Neil Sedaka).[11]

During his forty-year career Pino Rucher played not only the electric guitar, but also the folk (or acoustic), the classical, the bass and the twelve-string guitar, and then the banjo, the mandolin and the double bass, participating in thousands of musical events and recordings.

Orchestra conductors, composers and musicians[edit]

Orchestra directed by M° Carlo Zeme in Carosello di melodie.
Pino Rucher at the guitar.

He worked with: Cinico Angelini, Luis Enriquez Bacalov, Ettore Ballotta, Pippo Barzizza, Mario Bertolazzi, Bruno Biriaco, Willy Brezza, Pino Calvi, Bruno Canfora, Giosy Capuano, Mario Capuano, Fiorenzo Carpi, Pippo Caruso, Guido Cergoli, Gian Paolo Chiti, Nello Ciangherotti, Alessandro Cicognini, Stelvio Cipriani, Gino Conte, Marcello De Martino, Francesco De Masi, Armando Del Cupola, Lehman Engel, Carlo Esposito, Franco Ferrara, Francesco Ferrari, Gianni Ferrio, Armando Fragna, Tarcisio Fusco, Ugo Fusco, Benedetto Ghiglia, Marcello Giombini, Claudio Gizzi, Lallo Gori, Carlo Innocenzi, Angelo Francesco Lavagnino, Egisto Macchi, Franco Mannino, Gino Marinuzzi jr., Augusto Martelli, Gianni Mazza, Mario Migliardi, Beppe Mojetta, Elvio Monti, Ennio Morricone, Mario Nascimbene, Bruno Nicolai, Roberto Nicolosi, Nino Oliviero, Nora Orlandi, Paolo Ormi, Riz Ortolani, Gino Peguri, Piero Piccioni, Berto Pisano, Franco Pisano, Gianfranco Plenizio, Robby Poitevin, Enrico Polito, Franco Potenza, Roberto Pregadio, Enrico Rava, Gianfranco Reverberi, Franco Riva, Puccio Roelens, Marcello Rosa, Nino Rota, Carlo Rustichelli, Nicola Samale, Carlo Savina, Mario Scillia, Renato Serio, Enrico Simonetti, Gian Stellari, Claudio Tallino, Franco Tamponi, Vito Tommaso, Armando Trovajoli, Umberto Tucci, Piero Umiliani, Pierluigi Urbini, Teo Usuelli, Ivan Vandor, Antonello Vannucchi, Carlo Vitale, Roman Vlad, Zeno Vukelich, Bruno Zambrini, Paolo Zavallone, Carlo Zeme, Luigi Zito, etc.

Singers and bands[edit]

Roberto Murolo and Pino Rucher

He worked with: Tina Allori, Renzo Arbore, Nicola Arigliano, Charles Aznavour, Luciano Benevene, Carla Boni, Gino Bramieri, Sergio Bruni, Raffaella Carrà, Alida Chelli, Fausto Cigliano, Giorgio Consolini, Tony Cucchiara, Lucio Dalla, Tony Dallara, Aura D'Angelo, Laura D'Angelo, Alma Danieli, Wilma De Angelis, Jula De Palma, Tony Del Monaco, Nicola Di Bari, Johnny Dorelli, Dino, Duo Fasano, Nino Ferrer, Gabriella Ferri, Nico Fidenco, Aurelio Fierro, Lando Fiorini, Peppino Gagliardi, I Vianella, Zizi Jeanmaire, Gilberto La Scala, Gino Latilla, Bruna Lelli, Ettore "Raoul" Lovecchio, Daisy Lumini, Miranda Martino, Cocky Mazzetti, Gianni Meccia, Milva, Mina, Domenico Modugno, Gianni Morandi, Roberto Murolo, Carmelo Pagano, Tullio Pane, Gino Paoli, Narciso Parigi, Emilio Pericoli, Nilla Pizzi, Patty Pravo, Quartetto Cetra, Katina Ranieri, Massimo Ranieri, Renato Rascel, Gianni Ravera, Tony Renis, Teddy Reno, Ricchi e Poveri, Rocky Roberts, Giacomo Rondinella, Flo Sandon's, Toni Santagata, Neil Sedaka, Joe Sentieri, Anita Sol, Marisa Solinas, Bobby Solo, Annarita Spinaci, Luciano Tajoli, Arturo Testa, Achille Togliani, Tonina Torrielli, Ornella Vanoni, Edoardo Vianello, Claudio Villa, Iva Zanicchi, etc.

Omaggio a Pino Rucher, una vita per la chitarra / Homage to Pino Rucher, a life for the guitar[edit]

Carla Boni, Franco De Gemini, Giorgio Consolini and Carlo Posio on the stage during the event held in Manfredonia

This event (held in Manfredonia, his hometown) represents – as said by Mrs. Billa Consiglio, who was at the time a Councillor in charge of Cultural Policy in the Province of Foggia – an element in the culture of our land. Thanks to this event, the Province of Foggia celebrates one of his most famous children by producing one of the best events devoted to the music of the past decades. During the press conference before the event, Councillor Billa Consiglio recalled that Pino Rucher was (in the post- war Italian music world) one of the most prolific and in a way one of the more innovative artists. She concluded by saying that Pino Rucher was not only a great guitarist, but also one of the first to understand and experiment with the technique and the music genres that the dramatic Second World War had brought to Italy.[16]

And it is just for this life-time prestigious activity of his that the Municipal Authority of Manfredonia decided to give a street his name and to honor guitarist Pino Rucher with this event which took place in Piazza Giovanni XXIII (Manfredonia’s central square) on October 5, 2008, and saw the participation of such famous singers as Carla Boni, Giorgio Consolini, Aura D’Angelo and Miranda Martino.[16][17] Among the other artists and famous figures who took part in the event were Silvano Chimenti (RAI guitarist), Franco De Gemini (who played the harmonica in Italian westerns), Giuseppe Mastroianni (sound technician), Elvio Monti (composer and orchestra conductor), Carlo Posio (jazz pianist and RAI entertainer), Dario Salvatori (RAI entertainer and musicologist). Stelvio Cipriani, Nora Orlandi, Teddy Reno and Iva Zanicchi telephoned during the event and spoke about Rucher’s artistic merit as one of the major Italian guitarists, as Aura D’Angelo said while speaking to the audience.[16]

Afterwards the Mayor of Manfredonia Mr. Paolo Campo and the Honourable Mr. Antonio Leone, vice President of the Chamber of Deputies, made a brief speech and gave Pino Rucher’s family a memorial from the Town Hall and the Chamber of Deputies.[18][19] Then Mr. Antonio Pepe and Mrs. Billa Consiglio, President and Councillor of the province of Foggia respectively, also spoke to the audience. The event was shot by the RAI cameraman Pino Ciociola and was later included in a TV cover by Mr. Enzo Del Vecchio, a journalist of RAI 3, the regional television channel.[17]

Pino Rucher in a TV service broadcast by RAI 3 channel[edit]

Pino Rucher's self caricature

In November 2008 RAI 3 broadcast Le corde del West, a TV service by Mr. Enzo Del Vecchio.

Roberto Pregadio, the well-known orchestra conductor of the popular musical broadcast La Corrida, mentioned Rucher’s technical perfectionism and ability at improvising. Adriano Mazzoletti, a music critic, recalled his rare ability to write musical jazz arrangements and motifs. He said that Rucher was the only one in Italy to be able to reproduce music by Barney Kessel, the famous American jazz guitarist.

Silvano Chimenti (a RAI guitarist) recalled the work period spent with Pino Rucher (and the other members of the orchestra) in the pit of the Sistina Theatre in Rome during the musical show Alleluja brava gente. At the end of the service, singers Carla Boni, Giorgio Consolini, Aura D’Angelo and the music critic Dario Salvatori also spoke about Pino Rucher.

Pino Rucher on the music magazine Raro![edit]

A four-page article on Pino Rucher appeared in the January 2010 issue of the music magazine Raro!. The article recalls Rucher’s assiduous activity as a guitarist performing for a number of record companies among which RCA, CAM, Bixio, Beat Records, Fonit Cetra.

Raro! is a prestigious music monthly (founded in 1987) which is printed in Rome and distributed in all Italian regions with a circulation of twenty thousand copies.

The article underlined Rucher’s role as an electric guitar soloist in a great number of soundtracks, among which A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Arizona Colt, Day of Anger, The Sweet Life, , etc.

It is worth mentioning that Quentin Tarantino made use of the guitar performance from Day of Anger in his movie Kill Bill Volume 1.[20][21]

Soundtracks – A tribute to Pino Rucher[edit]

Pino Rucher at the guitar

Much of the success of such films as A Pistol for Ringo, Arizona Colt, The Sweet Life or Say, One Evening at Dinner depends on their soundtracks, in which a noticeable role is played by Pino Rucher’s electric guitar.

The Municipal Authorities of Manfredonia and of San Nicandro Garganico dedicated a special evening (on 16 October 2010) to Pino Rucher: The event, named Musica da film – Tributo to Pino Rucher (Soundtracks – A Tribute to Pino Rucher), took place at the Cine-Teatro Italia of San Nicandro to recall the musician’s extraordinary career as RAI soloist and his assiduous work for such historic record companies as RCA and Fonit Cetra.[22][23][24]

The special musical event was presented by musicologist Dario Salvatori, who introduced some well-known protagonists of soundtrack music: singer Edda Dell’Orso accompanied at the piano by Master Giacomo Dell’Orso (her husband), the orchestra conductor and flutist Nicola Samale, and finally keyboard player Claudio Simonetti and his band, the Daemonia.[23][24]

Dario Salvatori (music critic and musicologist, radio presenter and the RAI Sound Archives artistic curator) went over the main steps of Pino Rucher’s itinerary through the numberless successful Italian songs and movie soundtracks between the Fifties and the Seventies: his electric guitar solos resound in hundreds of movies, from Sergio Leone’s Dollar Trilogy to Day of Anger, from to Totò Sexy.[23][24]

In the course of the evening a few famous soundtrack themes were performed by the following artists:
Edda Dell’Orso, vocal soloist in such movie soundtracks as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The Secret of the Sahara, A Fistful of Dynamite, in which she whispers the well-known motif Sean Sean; Giacomo Dell’Orso, pianist and organist, orchestra conductor and composer; Nicola Samale, orchestra conductor and composer, flute soloist in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; Claudio Simonetti and the Daemonia, who are famous for composing and performing the soundtracks of a number of movies, among which Deep Red, Suspiria and Dawn of the Dead. Line up of the Daemonia band: Claudio Simonetti (keyboard), Bruno Previtali (guitar), Titta Tani (drums), Silvio Assaiante (bass guitar).[22][24]

The main songs with Pino Rucher as electric guitar soloist[edit]

Pino Rucher with Cinico Angelini in 1955


Bibliographical notes[edit]

  • Mario BELLUCCI, Giuseppe Rucher, in Lira musicale di Manfredonia: Musicisti del passato e del presente, Frascati, Tip. Laziale, [1966], p. 67
  • Carlo CARFAGNA, Mario GANGI, Rucher Giuseppe (Pino), in Dizionario chitarristico italiano, Ancona, Edizioni musicali Bèrben, 1968, p. 63
  • Michele FERRI, Profilo di un musicista: Il chitarrista Pino Rucher, in il Sipontiere (Manfredonia), III (1986), n° 2 (aprile-giugno), p. 3
  • Maurizio BECKER, C'era una volta la RCA, Roma, Coniglio Editore, 2007, [Pino Rucher mentioned among RCA guitarists on p. 299]
  • Carlo FERRINI, L'orchestra Angelini trasmise per radio musiche composte a Faenza in Faenza... la città, Faenza, Tip. Faentina, 2008, p. 103
  • Michele FERRI, Omaggio a Pino Rucher grande chitarrista scomparso, in il Provinciale (Foggia), XX (2008), n° 10 (October), p. 3
  • Maurizio DE TULLIO, Pino Rucher, in Dizionario Biografico di Capitanata, Foggia, Edizioni Agorà, 2009, pp. 252–3
  • Fernando FRATARCANGELI, Pino Rucher, in Raro!. Mensile di collezionismo, cultura musicale e cinema (Roma), XXI (2010), n° 217 (January), pp. 42–45
  • Adriano MAZZOLETTI, Il jazz in Italia: dallo swing agli anni sessanta, vol. II, Torino, EDT, 2010, [Pino Rucher mentioned on pp. 321, 348, 458]


  1. ^ a b "Il jazz in Italia: dallo swing agli anni sessanta" (in Italian). January 2, 2016. Retrieved January 5, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Pino Rucher, storia di un chitarrista RAI" (in Italian). January 4, 2016. Retrieved January 4, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Radio Bari" (in Italian). Retrieved January 4, 2016. 
  4. ^ "George Russell - Live in Rome '80". December 24, 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Chris McGregor - Live in Mestre '80". February 6, 2010. Retrieved January 8, 2016. 
  6. ^ "K.Wheeler/E.Parker/P.Rutherford/B.Guy/N.Morris + RAI B.B. - Live in Rome '80". February 18, 2010. Retrieved January 8, 2016. 
  7. ^ "E. Rava & M.Mengelberg Octet + RAI B.B. - Live in Rome '80". March 2, 2010. Retrieved January 5, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Archie Shepp Quintet + RAI B.B. - Live in Rome '80". April 4, 2011. Retrieved January 8, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Albert Mangelsdorff Quintet + RAI B.B. - Live in Rome '80". October 7, 2011. Retrieved January 5, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Gil Evans Quintet + RAI B.B. - Live in Rome '80". January 31, 2012. Retrieved January 5, 2016. 
  11. ^ a b "Rock'n'roll celebrities". August 17, 2011. Retrieved January 5, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Medaglia data da Papa Paolo VI a Pino Rucher" (in Italian). June 13, 2015. Retrieved January 8, 2016. 
  13. ^ "MUSICIAN LIST". Retrieved January 8, 2016. 
  14. ^ "C'era una volta la RCA di Maurizio Becker" (in Italian). June 25, 2015. Retrieved January 8, 2016. 
  15. ^ "Pino Rucher". Retrieved January 6, 2016. 
  16. ^ a b c "Presentata manifestazione 'Omaggio a Pino Rucher, una vita per la chitarra'" (in Italian). October 2, 2008. Retrieved January 10, 2016. 
  17. ^ a b "Memorial Pino Rucher" (in Italian). October 4, 2008. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Targa conferita dal sindaco Paolo Campo alla famiglia Rucher" (in Italian). June 28, 2015. Retrieved January 10, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Targa conferita dall'On. Antonio Leone alla famiglia Rucher" (in Italian). July 1, 2015. Retrieved January 10, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Il grande chitarrista Pino Rucher sulla rivista RARO" (in Italian). January 11, 2010. Retrieved May 9, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Raro: nuovo numero in edicola per gli amanti dei dischi!" (in Italian). January 18, 2010. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  22. ^ a b "Musica da film: Tributo a Pino Rucher" (in Italian). October 8, 2010. Retrieved May 9, 2013. 
  23. ^ a b c "Musica da film 'Tributo a Pino Rucher'" (in Italian). October 11, 2010. Retrieved January 10, 2016. 
  24. ^ a b c d "Musiche da film a Manfredonia, tributo a Pino Rucher" (in Italian). October 11, 2010. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 

External links[edit]