I play with many different bands. This unit is by far my most fun to play with. It is led by my brother, Bill Jolly (He is the musical director for Lady Day in New York now). This segment features a lot of fun songs with my brother Bill leading. I hope you enjoy this clip.
This time of year has rolled around again. Thanksgiving holds a lot of different emotions and memories for me. While time “changes all” it doesn’t have to detract from the main emphasis of this Holiday, and that is to be “thankful.” When I reflect from this aspect, I have to realize that I have kids who have “never” had to be taken to jail for a crime they committed, never been on drugs and who love their daddy just as much as I love them. I also have to realize that while I “still” have grounds to make in my career, so far I have had some “incredibly awesome” experiences as a musician. How many people get to do what they like to do and can make a living from it? Third, I am thankful for the people in my life who believe in me. While I realize that I am not always “on top of my game” I still feel love from those who know me well enough to say “You are loved anyway.” Finally, I have a father who is 82 years old and has spent the last 2 weeks in the hospital due to some type of infection from diabetes. At this age, “every trip” to the hospital carries “major” concern, but thanks to a lot of love and prayers from those close to him (and me) there is an excellent chance that he will be coming home “today.” While this brings a smile to my face, I am also reflective of “holidays past” that can “never” happen again. My mother used to always be an integral part of our family, and even though we lost her in 2004 her memory still guides us. Since she passed around this time of year (December 14) it softens the joy of the holiday just a little bit for us, but nevertheless we continue to strive on. I realize that time “changes all” for everyone out there, and I am hopeful that this time of year can bring harmony and love to all who “need it.” I don’t care about political affiliations, tensions in other nations, or economic uncertainties. If for at least “one” day of the year we ALL could bestow love for each other instead of animosity towards each other then this day is “more than worth it” for me. The best way to experience it is to just exhibit it. If we can spread love to others, then just “maybe” someone can “give it right back.” I would like to take this moment to wish a truly happy time to ALL during this time of year, and “whatever” you celebrate (if you celebrate anything at all) I hope you can do so with love in your heart, and dedication in your soul. No matter how different cultures, races and religions there are on this planet, we need to be aware that we are ALL the “same color” on the inside… Be safe, be loved, and be happy… for no matter what, you “are” my brothers and sisters…
Just “me”…. “Brett Jolly”… doing what I “love” to do…
“The importance of family.” Just how important should family be in your life? Well, first it might be good to actually “define” family. A lot of people think that family members are only “those related by blood” to you. Technically, that could be considered correct, but I think that statement is somewhat limited. “Family” should be those people who “belong” to you, are tied to you, and “accept” you as family. You “shouldn’t” have to be related by blood to be considered “family.” A family member should make you “feel” like you are family, and that could by “anyone” that you incorporate into your life. Some members of your family history may be “blood related,” but if they don’t treat or accept you as family, then “blood” could be the “only” tie you have… Family is important because when things go wrong, family “should” be the ones who will have your back. They would be the ones to “encourage” you, chastise you (when you need it) and help to guide you. “Real” family should never “abandon” you. I know of people who have virtually “disowned” their mothers, fathers and other relatives. Some may act as though they “barely tolerate” you. That is not what family should be about. It is through good communication, understanding and faith in each other that constitutes the “strength” of family. During a crisis, family members should “get stronger” instead of “falling apart.” We all realize that “tragic moments” happen in life. When they do, it would be great to know that you can turn to “family” for help. With the amount of separations and divorces, the concept of family has taken a “big hit” over the years. However, whether “separate” or united, the love of your family member does not “have” to cease. We ALL need to belong to “someone.” I just hope that someone reading this will make his or her “own assessment” of how family plays a part in life, and if it is determined that you or a family member are not “up to par” on how you interact with each other, then by ALL means “make changes.” The best you can do is “reach out.” Thank you and have a great day today.
Stevie Wonder and Brett Jolly
The other day I was asked a question that I thought would be really tough to answer. The question wasn’t even directed to me, but I felt compelled to answer it anyway. While the question itself may be simple, I think the answer to it might involve much more detail. The question went like this: “Do you think that God is fair?” Now NORMALLY I would tell anyone to “ask your pastor” and that way I would alleviate myself from having to tackle this issue. From the Biblical sense, they would be “much” more capable and reliable than I could ever be answering this question. However, if I were to come from a “personal” angle, then “this” is how I would answer the question. First off, NO ONE is born with the same set of circumstances. Some are born “rich,” some are born “poor,” and some are born into very “tough” circumstances. However, I don’t think that the circumstances we are dealt have to remain “finalized” in our lives. For most of us who can live a long enough life, we have “choices” to “reshape” our life destination.” Just because you are “born poor” doesn’t mean that you have to “stay” that way. There are many success stories out there of people who have resurrected themselves from the pits of depression and poverty to make a change for the better in their lives, and there are also stories of those who “had it all” and lost just about everything. If you were born a “Kennedy” you were automatically “rich and upper class” based solely on your name alone. While many people “revered” the Kennedy’s they have had “more” than their share of family “tragedies.” They are the perfect example of how fair life can (and can’t) be. When it came to talent, the Jackson family rose to stardom, and their lead singer Michael Jackson utilized his talent to become the “King of Pop.” As a young boy, I have to admit that even I harbored a little jealousy over Michael Jackson. However, as I grew and learned more of his story, I came to realize that his life became more of a struggle based on the decisions he made. His family also has dropped from the upper hierarchy of music and there has been some reported “dysfunction” within the family. I am mentioning this because we often have the tendency to judge God “on the surface.” We look at someone else and say “Why couldn’t that have been me?” What we fail to recognize is that we still have the opportunity to reshape and enhance our own life destiny, and it is through God that it is possible. We often wait for him to “deliver a gift” to us when we fail to realize that He has already instilled the “gift within us.” For those of us who manage to live long enough, we all have an “equal chance” to make something of our lives, and to me, that is where the “fairness” comes in. Please understand that I am NOT coming from a “religious” standpoint on this question, so if you want to know the “real deal,” then by “all means” consult your local pastor. However, if you really want to confront the “fairness” of life issue then you might want to consider visiting special rehabilitation centers where some people cannot move on their own and cannot function without help from someone else. As bad as their circumstances are, it is their attitude on life that determines their values. They just might be far worse than you, but they also might consider themselves to be “more blessed than you.” Maybe that will help you in making a better assessment. I thank all of you who read my Daily Thought today, and as always, I welcome any and ALL opposing points of view. Finally, it is my perfect understanding that God is good… ALL the time… Hopefully that will help you view life in a much more “fairer” sense. Thank you and have a great day.
Robert “Kool’ Bell (the leader of Kool and the Gang) and Brett Jolly onstage at a recent show
This is a video clip of a live performance I had the honor to do with the legendary Jerry Butler. I was performing with an orchestra and you will be able to see me playing the red bass guitar periodically in the background. I will be the only one in the orchestra on the right side standing up playing guitar. I hope you enjoy the clip and have a great weekend.