Pete Jolly

Pete Jolly

born on 5/6/1932 in New Heaven, CT, United States

died on 6/11/2004 in Pasadena, CA, United States

Pete Jolly

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Pete Jolly (born Peter A. Ceragioli Jr., June 5, 1932 – November 6, 2004) was an American West Coast jazz pianist and accordionist. He was well known for his performance of television themes and various movie soundtracks.


Jolly 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, Arizona, 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" (a minor hit on Fred Astaire's Ava Records) 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.

Jolly'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. His final public performance with his trio was in Reno, Nevada, and he said it was the best he had ever played. Active for nearly fifty years, the Pete Jolly Trio had only one bassist, Chuck Berghofer, and one drummer, Nick Martinis. Berghofer later said, "In all that time, Pete never once told me how to play or what to play."

Jolly died at the age of age 72 in November 2004 in Pasadena, California, from complications of multiple myeloma .[1]


  • Jolly Jumps In, RCA Victor LPM 1105
  • Duo, Trio, Quartet, RCA Victor LPM 1125
  • When Lights are Low, RCA Victor LPM 1367
  • Impossible, MetroJazz SE-1014
  • Continental Jazz, Stereo Fidelity SFS-11000
  • The Sensational Pete Jolly Gasses Everybody, Charlie Parker PLP-825S
  • Little Bird, Äva AS-22
  • Sweet September, Ava AS-39
  • 5 O'Clock Shadows, MGM SE-4127
  • Too Much, Baby, Columbia CS-9197
  • Herb Alpert Presents Pete Jolly, A&M SP-4145
  • Give a Damn, A&M SP-4184
  • Seasons, A&M SP-3033
  • Strike Up the Band, Atlas
  • Pete Jolly Trio & Friends, VSOP 78
  • Live in L.A.: Red Chimney and Sherry's Bar, VSOP 91
  • Yours Truly, Bainbridge QCD-1007
  • Gems, Holt HRCD-3303
  • Yeah!, VSOP VSP 98
  • Timeless, VSOP VSP 105
  • Collaboration (with Jan Lundgren), Fresh Sound FSRCD5038
  • It's a Dry Heat (with Jerry Donato)

With Elmer Bernstein

  • The Man with the Golden Arm (Decca, 1956)

With Buddy Collette

  • Porgy & Bess (Interlude 1957 [1959])

With J. J. Johnson

  • Concepts in Blue (Pablo Today, 1981)

With Quincy Jones

  • Roots (A&M, 1977)

With Johnny Mandel

  • I Want to Live (United Artists, 1958)

With Gerry Mulligan

  • I Want to Live (United Artists, 1958)
  • If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em! (Limelight, 1965)

With Joni James

  • After Hours (MGM, 1962)

With Jack Nitzsche

  • Heart Beat (Soundtrack) (Capitol, 1980)

With Tom Waits

  • One From The Heart (film) Soundtrack (CBS, 1982)

With Shorty Rogers

  • Shorty Rogers and His Giants (RCA Victor, 1954 [1956])
  • The Swinging Mr. Rogers (Atlantic, 1955)
  • Martians Stay Home (Atlantic, 1955 [1980])
  • Martians Come Back! (Atlantic, 1955 [1956])
  • Way Up There (Atlantic, 1955 [1957])
  • Shorty Rogers Plays Richard Rodgers (RCA Victor, 1957)
  • Gigi in Jazz (RCA Victor, 1958)
  • Chances Are It Swings (RCA Victor, 1958)
  • The Wizard of Oz and Other Harold Arlen Songs (RCA Victor, 1959)
  • Shorty Rogers Meets Tarzan (MGM, 1960)
  • The Swingin' Nutcracker (RCA Victor, 1960)
  • An Invisible Orchard (RCA Victor, 1961 [1997])
  • The Fourth Dimension in Sound (Warner Bros., 1961)
  • Bossa Nova (Reprise, 1962)
  • Jazz Waltz (Reprise, 1962)


  1. ^ Oliver, Myrna (November 8, 2004). "Pete Jolly, 72; Jazz Pianist, Composer and Accordion Player". Los Angeles Times. 

External links

  • Pete Jolly at AllMusic
  • "Pete Jolly on Stars of Jazz (1956)" on YouTube
  • Pete Jolly on IMDb
  • Pete Jolly at Find a Grave
  • Space Age Musicmakers
This page was last modified 05.06.2018 11:06:07

This article uses material from the article Pete Jolly from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.