Ralph Penland

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Ralph Morris Penland (born February 15, 1953, Cincinnati, died March 13, 2014) was an American jazz drummer.

Penland was a percussionist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as a high schooler. He attended the New England Conservatory of Music and played in Boston with Gil Scott-Heron and Webster Lewis; he also played in New York in the early 1970s where he played with Freddie Hubbard among others. In 1975 he moved to Los Angeles and led his own group, Penland Polygon; he also worked as a session musician for Chet Baker, Kenny Burrell, Eddie Harris, Harold Land, Charles Lloyd, Ronnie Matthews, and Nancy Wilson. In the 1980s he worked with George Cables, Dianne Reeves, Buddy Montgomery, Charlie Rouse, Jimmie Rowles, Rick Zunigar, Andy Simpkins, Dave Mackay, Bunky Green, Richard Todd, and John Nagourney. In the 1990s he toured with Frank Sinatra, Herbie Hancock, and Carlos Santana, and was active as a studio drummer, recording with Bob Cooper, Eddie Daniels, James Leary, Marc Copland, Dieter Ilg, Lou Levy, Carmen Bradford, Janis Siegel, Fred Hersch, Rickey Woodard, Carmen Lundy, Joe Sample, and Miki Coltrane. Penland died of a heart attack in 2014.


With George Cables

  • Sleeping Bee (Atlas, 1983)
  • Wonderful L.A. (Atlas, 1983)
  • By George (Contemporary, 1987)

With Freddie Hubbard

With James Leary

  • James (Vital, 1991)
  • James II (Vital, 1992)
  • The Heart of the Matter (Vital, 1992)

With others


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