Mike Tozzi, guitar player, long
time musician, friend and student
of Ralph Grasso's talks some about
his old friend and one of
the top studio guitar players in history,
without a doubt.
Ralph Grasso, guitarist/orchestrator for motion pictures, television
and records. Ralph started in New York with his own musical TV show.
He appeared as a guest soloist on the Ed Sullivan Show. While in the
service, he won first place in a worldwide talent contest, after
which he was assigned to perform as soloist for the President of the
United States when foreign dignitaries were entertained. Over the
years Ralph has performed for five United States Presidents, as well
as Queen Elizabeth.
He was musical arranger/conductor/guitarist for Jimmie Rodgers for
five years. An active "studio musician", he backed recording and TV
names such as: Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Anthony Newley, Andy
Williams, and many others, too many to mention.
Ralph has performed as guitarist on the following albums: "The
Contemporary Sound of Nelson Riddle", "The Frank Sinatra Family
Christmas Album", also with Nelson Riddle, "The Young Beat of Rome",
"Russian Grandeur", "Candy's Theme", "Good Vibrations", and "Moog
Poower", with Hugo Montenegro.
His motion picture scores include: "Thunder Road" with Robert
Mitchum, Hugo Montenegro's: "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.", "Hang 'Em
High", "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", and "A Few Dollars More",
with Clint Eastwood, also "Lady In Cement" with Frank Sinatra, the
comedy "Viva Max", and "The Matt Helm Movie Series" with Dean
Martin. Included is Nelson Riddle's, "On A Clear Day", with Barbra
Streisand, "Paint Your Wagon" with Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood,
"The Rita Hayworth Story" with Linda Carter, music by Lalo Schifirin.
Ralph also orchestrated many of these productions.
He played guitar every week on the following TV series: "The
Smothers Brothers Show", "The Glen Campbell Show", "The Jonathan
Winters Show", "I Dream of Jeannie", "Here Come the Brides", "The
Outcast", "The Blue Knight", "Mobile One", "Poppy", "City of
Angels", "Executive Suite", "240 Robert", "Project UFO", "Stride
Force" with Robert Stack, "Chips", and "The Love Boat". He was also
a special guest (solo guitarist) on "Three's Company" starring John
He has appeared on such TV specials as: "The Entertainment Hall of
Fame", doing a duet with Tony Bennett, as well as the Emmy Awardwinning
"Salute to Richard Rogers TV special" playing for: Dianne Carrol,
Cloris Leachman, Sandy Duncan, Vic Damone, Peggy Lee, Leana Horne,
and Sammy Davis Jr. Bestseller movie series include: "Rich Man, Poor
Man", "7th Avenue", and the award winning
"79 Park Avenue". Ralph also appeared on a series of individual TV
tribute specials, for people such as: Elizabeth Taylor, Jimmy
Stewart, Billy Wylder, Alfred Hitchcock, Betty Davis, and Fred
Astaire. Other TV specials such as "The Golden Globe Awards"
and "The Academy Award Show"
on its 50th Anniverary add to his credits.
Many of the other musical personalities Ralph has worked with are:
Henry Mancini (The Pink Panther), Paul Weston, Les Brown, Sonny &
Cher, Liza Minnelli, Captain & Tennele, Sarah Vaughn, Al Hirt, Ella
Fitzgerald, Jack Jones Natalie Cole, Paul Williams, John Denver,
Evis Presley, Doc Severenson and the Tonight Show with Johnny
Carson, Herb Alpert & the TJ Brass. The great jazz artists: Ray
Brown, Plas Jonnson, Bud Shank, Shelly Mann, Herb Ellis, Howard
Roberts, Barney Kessel, Tommy Tedesco and many others.
Rounding out his performing experience, Ralph has recorded as a solo
artist for Capitol Records and the Dot Records labels. He has recent
CDs and a soon to be published autobiography, and is presently
active doing concerts, clinics and seminars, as well as instructing
private students on guitar and bass.