A powerful pianist who came to fame on the West Coast in the 1950s, Pete Jolly was 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). He recorded three albums as a leader for Victor in 1955/56 (taking rare jazz accordion solos on a few tracks), worked with Buddy DeFranco, Terry Gibbs, Richie Kamuca, Chet Baker and Art Pepper among others in the late '50s and had a surprise hit with "Little Bird" in 1963. Jolly became a busy studio musician in the 1960s, but led his trio with bassist Chuck Berghofer and drummer Nick Martinis regularly in local clubs for over 30 years. In addition to RCA
, Pete Jolly recorded for Metrojazz, MGM, Ava, Charlie Parker Records, Columbia
, A&M, Atlas, Holt, and V.S.O.P. as a leader. He died November 6, 2004, in Pasadena, California. He was 72.
This trio outing was Pete Jolly's first album under his own name and he certainly came to the studio eager and ready to play. Quite a number of these tunes are taken at incredibly quick tempos. "Will You Still Be Mine", "I've Got You Under My Skin", "I'm With You", and "Before and After" all feature Jolly's swinging single-note approach, though his left hand is never just idle. One of the most interesting tracks is "That's All" which begins and ends in slow 4/4 but then switches to a medium waltz in the middle section with some dissonance thrown in for good measure. On three tunes a small band including Shorty Rogers, Jimmy Giuffre, and Howard Roberts augments the trio with Jolly switching to accordion. Rogers takes a nice solo on "Why Do I Love You". On all tracks Curtis Counce is on bass and Shelly Manne on drums. Pete Jolly was an exciting pianist and this initial album showcases his talents nicely. ~ Bomojaz