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). He recorded three albums as a leader for Victor in 1956 (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 has 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 has recorded for Metrojazz, MGM, Ava, Charlie Parker Records, Columbia, A&M, Atlas, Holt, and V.S.O.P. as a leader. ~ Scott Yanow