Ralph Tope (Detroit, MI) picked up the guitar at the age of 16 after hearing Detroit jazz guitar stalwart Perry Hughes. Ralph went to see Perry play constantly, sitting quietly in the audience and intently watching every move. After many months of appearing at his gigs but never approaching Perry, Mr. Hughes finally asked Ralph why he kept coming out. Ralph exclaimed he wanted to play guitar like him and after much prodding Perry agreed to teach him. Within a few short years, Ralph became and remains an in-demand player on the Detroit scene.
He enrolled at Michigan State University in 2006, where he met and studied under former organissimo guitarist Joe Gloss and Rodney Whittaker, former bassist for the Jazz At Lincoln Center orchestra led by Wynton Marsalis and current head of the Michigan State University Jazz program.
Ralph’s style is influenced by the best of the great jazz guitarists including George Benson, Grant Green, and Wes Montgomery. Ralph’s current favorite is Peter Bernstein and the two have hooked up for lessons and chats often.