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Album Review

When pianist Pete Jolly passed away in 2004, he was one of the last major survivors of the West Coast jazz scene of the 1950s. A powerful two-handed pianist influenced by Bud Powell but having his own style within straight-ahead jazz, Jolly worked in Los Angeles for decades, which led to him being underrated and often overlooked by the rest of the jazz world. Jolly had a trio with bassist Chuck Berghofer and drummer Nick Martinis that lasted over 40 years. However just prior to the formation of that group, Jolly often worked in a duo with bassist Ralph Pena. The music on this CD, of which originally only a dozen LPs were pressed, is rare in the extreme. It is taken from a 1960 tour of New Zealand and features Jolly and Pena digging into a variety of jazz standards and originals. Most unusual are the fairly early covers of Bud Powell's "Celia," George Wallington's obscure "Variations," and Thelonious Monk's "Friday the Thirteenth." Pete Jolly and straight-ahead jazz piano collectors will definitely want this rare item.


Born: 05 June 1932 in New Haven, CT

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

A powerful pianist who came to fame on the West Coast in the 1950s, Pete Jolly has been a fixture in Los Angeles for over 40 years. He started on accordion when he was three and began piano when he was eight. He played his first job when he was 12. In 1946, his family moved to Phoenix and the following year, he joined the Musicians Union and started working extensively in clubs. During a visit to Los Angeles in 1954, Jolly sat in at the Lighthouse, which led to him joining Shorty Rogers' Giants (1954-1956)....
Full bio

Top Albums and Songs by Pete Jolly

The Duo, Pete Jolly
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  • £7.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Hard Bop
  • Released: 18 September 1960

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