Pete JollyPete (*1932) began playing the accordion at age three, and appeared on the radio program Hobby Lobby at the age of seven. He was raised in Phoenix, AZ, a hotbed of jazz at the time. One of his best friends and collaborators in Phoenix was guitarist Howard Roberts, whom he met at the age of 13. Following Roberts to Los Angeles in 1952, he immediately began working with the best players on the West Coast jazz scene, including Shorty Rogers. He moved easily into studio and session work. Besides his brilliance on the piano, he was a virtuoso on accordion.
His composition "Little Bird" was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1963, and he formed the Pete Jolly Trio in 1964. With the Trio and as a solo artist, he recorded several albums. One of the last was a collaboration with Jan Lundgren in 2000. His final album, It's a Dry Heat, was recorded in Phoenix in May 2004 shortly before his death. He worked with Buddy DeFranco, Art Pepper, and Red Norvo, and for many years with music arranger and director Ray Conniff and Herb Alpert, recording on Alpert's record label, A&&M as both sideman and leader.
Pete's music can be heard on television programs such as Get Smart, The Love Boat, I Spy, Mannix, M*A*S*H and Dallas, as well as hundreds of movie soundtracks. He recreated all of Bud Powell's playing with Charlie Parker for the Clint Eastwood movie, Bird. By day, Jolly worked in the studios; by night, with his trio. He continued to perform with his trio in Los Angeles jazz clubs until shortly before being hospitalized in August 2004. Pete died in November 2004 in Pasadena, CA.
Reprise Records RS 6429
Shorty Rogers, trumpet
Pete Candoli, trumpet
Pete Jolly, organ, piano
Dennis Budimir, guitar
Mike Anthony, guitar
Max Bennett, bass
Paul Humphrey, drums
Victor Feldman, drums
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