Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Had a bad dream”)

Had a very bad dream last night. Actually it wasn’t as bad as some other dreams I’ve had, but considering what I do for a living this dream could have been considered catastrophic. I dreamt that I went to a gig to play and placed my red bass guitar down someplace and left it. When I went back to retrieve it, it was gone. There were other bands at this place, so naturally I had a whole bunch of suspects to choose from. I’m not sure why I even had a dream like this, because I am usually “extremely careful” when it comes to my guitar. I hardly ever put it down outside of where I can see it. If I am at a gig I normally leave it onstage where everyone can see  just in case someone tries to take it. The truth of the matter is that I am so used to that red guitar and I do so many gigs with it that most times when I leave the house I “automatically” think to bring it. I have had this guitar for so long. The very first gig I had with it was something I was doing with Grover Washington Jr., the late great saxophone player. I should have bought it a couple of days before the gig instead of just the day before. I was extremely uncomfortable trying to get adjusted to playing a 6 string. Grover died in 1999 and it might be possible that I have had this guitar for over 30 years now. I know I will need another one at some point soon. The model I play is a Peavy TL6 (6 string bass) and I have played behind many big name celebrities with it. Unfortunately they discontinued this particular model but so many people identify me by my big red bass guitar. Some artists refer to me as “Big Red” because of it. Teddy Pendergrass used to introduce me onstage as “Red Geetar.” Also a lot of the models I post from pictures have held the red bass, so in some instances my guitar is more famous than I am (smile). It was great to wake up and realize that this was “only a dream.” However, dreams like this don’t make you sleep well. One day I will need to consider getting another bass, but right now I want to hang on to this one for as long as I can. Music is my life, and my guitar is my living. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.


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Grover Washington Jr., brother Bill Jolly and Brett Jolly


Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Brett Jolly performing “I wish” by Stevie Wonder this past Saturday”)

This past weekend I was performing with my own group, “The Brett Jolly Experience” in Atlantic City, New Jersey. We had a lot of fun performing to a huge crowd. I love music in just about every capacity, and it was a joy to have the opportunity to play for people. I hope you enjoy the song and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Red Bass Guitar photo shoot with BeLinda”)

BeLinda called me with a new idea for a photo shoot. She wanted to do one around the downtown Philly area and the art museum. I always love different scenes (as long as it is nothing dangerous). We had a nice day for shooting and the shoot turned out great. BeLinda is a great fashion model and she is looking to build her portfolio. Judging from these pictures I think her portfolio is starting to build rather nicely.  I hope you enjoy her pictures. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.


Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“A harmonica piece done at my Wednesday night event”)

At my Wednesday Night event (simply entitled “The Wednesday Night Grand Slam” we feature all kinds of great talent. The talent is diverse, and that diversity is what makes our nights so special. We will have comedians, musicians, singers, and just regular folk who love to hear good live music come out. We have our regulars but we also manage to get newcomers each week. We take requests (and we actually play them) and we simply have fun. You really need to be here on a Wednesday night to see for yourself (The Crab Tavern, 201 North MacDade Boulevard in Darby, Pennsylvania). We have been experiencing packed audiences and sometimes there are so many people that it is difficult to seat everyone. I host the event each week and it is a pleasure for me to do so. People have asked me to feature more of the talent that we have, so today I wanted to share with you a young man who plays harmonica. He calls himself Scoop Jzizzle and he is one of our popular artists at my event. He doesn’t sing, but he plays the fool out of the harmonica (actually I think he refers to it as a “Mouth harp”). Here he is doing a classic originally done by Chuck Mangione. I hope you enjoy this clip. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“The evolution of music. What happened to music like this?”)

For the record, whatever happened to music like this and why did it disappear? The most obvious answer would seem to be “the evolution of fashion and style.” While this song had its rightful place with a certain past generation it now seems to have outgrown the popularity of that era. I don’t think that it had anything to do with the abilities of artists such as Tony Bennet. He was a great singer in his own right with a style that people liked, but while “he” didn’t change, the industry “just changed around him.” If you have ever seen some of the current stars of today in concert, just examine the difference between them and this artist from the past:

Now let’s examine this. In this video you see a clean cut man (Tony Bennet) singing to an orchestra (You can’t see them, but they can be heard). He is dressed neatly in a suit and bow tie. The music is soft, and he doesn’t move or dance much when he sings. In fact, he practically just stands there. When they discovered artists who could sing “and” dance more they realized that there was a stronger popularity for these types of performers. When Elvis came on the scene he gyrated a LOT, and people ate it up. When you compare Elvis and Tony Bennett you obviously get contrasting styles. Also, when the Beatles came along they didn’t move as much as Elvis, but their music had a different flair to it. With their special Beatle haircuts they had their own individuality and style that helped to sell them. As the music scene evolved artists were promoted more in accordance to their marketing power. Some of it had to do with talent (but as the years rolled on even that seemed to change). Today’s record labels are less concerned with how well a performer can sing, so they choose instead to focus on their marketability. They actually try to make a new artist into a star through the concept of promotion. Why not? It seems a lot of today’s artists aren’t really singing anyway. That means they can focus more on the look and anything else unique that they think will give them an edge over other artists. Will music like this ever come back? I can’t imagine it coming back the same way it is here. First off, it is tough to bring orchestras to perform for an artist. They are costly and bulky, because they take up room and you have to pay them. Now synthesizers have come into play to cover string sounds (and horns, etc.), and in many cases tape (with samples) are dominating concerts now. With tape and samples you have even less people to pay. Musicians may be seen onstage, but that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily heard. Now many play along with the track (for the visual effect) and chances are you will hear more of the tape than you will the artist. That will go for the background vocals as well as lead parts. It makes it easier for the engineer to handle when it comes to mixing the sounds. In other words, in today’s music there are more fakers than performers. There will always be fans of Tony Bennett. However, it is extremely tough to sell a new generation on the concept of an old artist. So to answer the question of what happened to this type of music? That answer is very simple: “Money.” Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
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Jerry Butler in concert with Brett Jolly on bass

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Who are we to judge?”)

The other day I was at a church and encountered a few ladies all dressed up in beautifully colored Sunday church garb. There were about 4 of them and while they were preparing to enter the church another lady came up from behind them and asked, “Could you possibly spare some change ladies?” This lady was dressed raggedly and looked as though she had been through some hard and difficult times. The church ladies heard her but none of them offered to give her anything. In fact, some even turned their heads and didn’t respond back to her at all. I felt bad about it. I began to think that the whole concept of Christ was supposed to be about “giving.” I do believe the ladies would have gladly paid tithes in church, so why not give outside of the church as well? As much as I knew Jesus never owned a church, but preached about giving. Since the ladies didn’t appear to want to give the woman money I offered her some of mine. My reason for doing so had nothing to do with anyone else. I did it because I believe giving is “not just relegated to the church.” Of course, there was always the possibility that the woman could have taken the money to buy drugs or something like that, but should it have been up to me to judge her? For all anyone knew,  she might have been an angel is disguise. When people judge others based on what we observe on the surface it can be so unfair at times. For example, just because a man may be a rough looking dark skinned individual who wears hoodies all the time doesn’t mean that he can’t be well refined and educated. When we don’t know a person’s circumstances we need to refrain from acting “as if we do.” The best way to judge a person is to first get to know him or her, and when you give the benefit of the doubt then your mind will not be so closed. Stereotypes are done by people who judge you without even taking the opportunity to get to know you. Stereotypes make you blind from seeing what’s on the inside. True, there are some people in the world who will do their best to con you and take advantage of you. Yes, there are evil elements out there. However, a random act of kindness can go a long way if you are willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt. Life is special, and I believe what you put into it determines a lot of what you get out of it. I am not saying to give all of your money away. However, if you have some to spare and someone desperately needs it then why not let the goodness in your heart dictate your actions? In the meantime, maybe we should not be so quick to judge others based on “what we think we know.” In order for people to see the good in you, you need to first see the good in people. During your day today I hope you can spare a moment to enact a “random act of kindness” for someone… anyone… If you do, please take note of how you feel inside afterwards. I’ll bet it wasn’t so bad “after all…” Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.


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Radio Jock Tom Joyner (with glasses on…) along with 2 members of the group Full Force and Brett Jolly

Tom Joyner and Brett

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Yesterday was Mother’s Day”)

Our annual tradition here in the United States is to celebrate mothers on Mother’s Day. For us it happened yesterday, as many moms were taken out to dinner and/or movies, etc. I had 2 church services starting at 7:30 (ending at 2:00 pm) and then a gig that started at 4:00 pm. On the way to my afternoon gig I wanted to pay respects to my own mother Rowena Jolly (who passed away in 2004 from ovarian cancer). However, the line into the cemetery was so long that I could not risk it, so I had to opt for getting to my gig on time. I will get out to the grave site sometime this week (maybe even today).  As for this special day, it is my hope that everyone got to pay homage to their own mother (or someone else who is a deserving mother) in some special way, even if just in prayer. Most women go through a lot when it comes to motherhood. It is often a thankless job for many. Mothers deserve to have at least one day out of the year, but truth be told they should be honored “every day.” Without them the human race would cease to exist. Many men will take for granted the duties of what mothers do, but the only way to truly appreciate their endeavors is to actually take on their responsibilities and see for yourself. For those of you who have never tried it, motherhood is no joke. It is my sincere hope that all mothers had a great day and were honored appropriately on this special day (and every day). You deserve that much… Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.


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Aretha Franklin with Brett Jolly on bass