Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“The things I have learned (and still need to learn) about photography”)

I realize that every one takes a different approach to his or her craft. On this site I have seen many extraordinary beautiful pictures from different photographers and I try to learn everything I can from them all. I first started doing this for fun as a gimmick to help promote my music. Years ago I took a picture of a female holding my bass guitar and placed it in an advertisement that I posted on Facebook. A LOT of people loved the concept and then they asked me to “keep it going.” Well, it is tough to find different models to display all the time. I have learned that being a photographer of people involves a lot of personal skill. You have to get the best you can out of your models so you need to know how to talk to them. As a photographer you need to be complimentary whenever necessary but you also need to be able to tell a model when the image is not quite right. Also I learned that even though a certain scene may look great it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will “photograph” great. I had to make sure that my main focus was on “how things looked through the camera lens.” I am still in the process of learning how to shoot pictures with the sun behind the model in bright sunlight and how to manage when there is hardly any light at all. Sometimes the shadow effect is difficult to overcome. I have gotten a lot of great responses to my pictures, but I still want to continue to improve, so I go online to look at different theories of shooting. In the meantime, I will continue to check out all the great photography of others and pick up ideas as I go along. I don’t think anyone is ever too old to grow. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and my pictures, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.


Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“The benefits of having perfect pitch”)

I love playing music. Often it is my escape and getaway (even though I am still around people at the time). I also love it when people have God given gifts. That means that some people have extraordinary talents that give them certain advantages over others. When my parents brought a piano over the house I was only 4 years old at the time. The very next morning my mother came downstairs and actually heard me play a tune on it. It was a very simple tune (It was a song by Ben E. King simply entitled “Stand by me”). Over the years I was not interested in playing music. I instead wanted to play basketball. However, everyone kept noticing that whenever I went to music I had very little difficulty picking up songs. At the time I thought everyone was capable of doing it, but then I soon realized that a lot of people couldn’t hear music as well as I did. Fast forward to today and it seems as though I actually have to learn (on average) about 6 to 8 new tunes per week (and no, I am not joking). My church will send me about 4 new tunes a week (often on the night before I have to play them) and then at my open mic event people will bring up new songs for us to play (on the spot). A lot of musicians would have to dedicate time, sit down and figure out the notes to new songs. I will go to Youtube on my phone, play the song in my car and learn it while I am driving. As for my open mic events me (and the rest of the band) will listen to a song request on Youtube and then “play it on the spot.” That is the benefit of having a great musical ear. Can I be stumped? “Absolutely.” There are times when the bad intonation of a song will “throw me off entirely” because I won’t be able to figure out the key of it. For the most part due to the musical ear I have I will attempt to play just about “anything.” “Perfect Pitch” is the ability to hear notes and determine what those notes are. Sometimes it feels as though I can actually “see the notes in my head.” While several people have perfect pitch, I have found that there are “different degrees of it.” I know of some people who have it but still have difficulties learning new songs. That means that their perfect pitch only goes so far for them. I love the challenges of it and I sincerely hope to accomplish a lot more through it. Music is a healing source, and I am blessed with the ability to heal others through playing. Today I just wanted to share with you a little bit of my experiences through my world of music. 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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David Banner, Ciara, Vickie Winans, The Williams Brothers, Chuck Brown, Janet Jackson, James Ingram, Yolanda Adams and Brett Jolly on bass (to the far right)


Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Finally… a genuinely live and real performance”)

As most of you know I am one who will never hesitate to point out those who are lip syncing (or singing along with the track) in their performances. I have exposed “many” fake artists (especially those from the newer generation of stars and even some from the old school) for their inabilities to carry a song live in concert. Well, this time I went looking for fakers and actually found a segment that was “authentic.” The deep part is that this segment belongs to a performer who “has” performed with voice samples before in his show, but yet this particular song is truly live and genuine. I give him praise for doing so, even though there is a little bit of struggle in his voice. No one has the perfect voice and at some point even the best of singers will come across a note or 2 that will seem challenging. However, I am one who loves the realness of a show, faults and all. In this song it is only his voice and his guitar. He starts out a little shaky in the beginning but recovers well after the audience helps him out by singing with him. Since he has to look down at his guitar to see his placement of fingers it is difficult for him to project directly into the microphone, but he did well enough to make the song happen. He also has a little struggle trying to play and sing at the same time. At some points he stopped playing totally so that he could concentrate more on singing properly. His playing goes well until the very end (around the 3:32 mark) where he hits a wrong guitar chord (but at least he is smart enough to stop playing at that point). Yes, I will condemn many who “fake the funk” in their concerts, but I will also give high fives to those who bring it real. That’s why I will give a “thumbs up” to Justin Bieber for this rendition of “Love Yourself.”

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 (“Why does this happen so often?”)

I have either heard or known of couples who broke up “viciously” in their relationships. When I say “viciously” I mean with “absolute hatred in their hearts” (and sometimes these relationships end violently). Their thoughts and actions were pure evil during the breakup process and in most cases it shows who and what they really are. The part that I can’t fathom is that often after the brutal breakup these same 2 people end up reconciling. Why is that? When you know what someone is capable of and you have already experienced the worst, then why put yourself at risk trying to re-establish a bad situation? A friend of mine recently had an experience where his woman got drunk and tried to stab him with a knife. He said that this woman was certifiably crazy and he wanted to get a restraining order against her, and yet today they are back together. I once saw a man about 270 pounds punch a 5 foot 2 woman hard repeatedly in public, and yet when me and other men tried to intercede she refused our help. Recently a couple I knew had a bad argument/fight where clothes were destroyed and the property was intentionally damaged. That couple is now reconciling too. I’m sure we all have heard the line that “love is blind,” but does it have to be deaf and dumb too? Whenever love crosses the line of violence then should it still be considered love? I think a lot of people try to make it work because they are “afraid of admitting failure.” They have probably told their friends about “this great romance” (and some of them probably had prior relationships that failed as well) so they don’t want people to see that they messed up yet again. That might the “absolute worst” reason to try to maintain a bad relationship. I believe it was Maya Angelou who once said “When someone shows you who they truly are, believe them…” For some reason, people hope their loved ones “will change” even though they know in their hearts that they won’t. I am not saying that people cannot change. They do it all the time, but as long as the “trait” is still within them then that behavior can (and at some point usually does) resurface. Then the real question is not about what’s wrong with your lover, but rather what’s wrong with  you? We are all human and no one is perfect but you need to keep in mind that many people are now serving jail sentences for their imperfections. Only you can make the determination of what you can stand in your relationship. I once knew of a woman who stuck by her man up until the day he shot and killed her (and then killed himself). That was so tragic. You love with your heart, but you need to think with your mind. When you use them both then chances are good that you won’t become a victim to someone else’s “imperfections.” 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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Jill Scott in concert with Brett Jolly on bass guitar behind her


Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Glass half empty or half full?”)

We had a quick but hard thunderstorm here in Philadelphia. I was in my house when I heard the thunder ring loud. Then I heard the biggest crackling sound and I just knew something was wrong. For some reason I just felt as though something was about to fall on my house so I immediate got up to run to a more secure spot. My lights went out and I couldn’t see. I found my way outside to find this:


Needless to say a couple of things went through my mind. Here is the “half empty scenario:” I had no electricity. It would cost a lot of money to clear this tree off my property. It would probably be hours before the power got turned back on, thereby all the food in the refrigerator would probably be ruined. Also my bed ridden father was in the house and he can’t easily be moved in case of emergency. Now here is the “half full scenario:” The tree didn’t land on the house (or even me for that matter). The tree missed hitting my car by about 6 feet (and that would have been very catastrophic had that happened). It wasn’t that long at all before the power was restored and I am alive today to talk about this. As bad as this seemed at first, there was a blessing in all of this. Often we think of bad events in our lives and relate to them as though things are at the lowest point for us. There can be a blessing for you if you only “take the time to recognize it.” The fact that things actually “can be worse” should never be ignored. The impact of circumstances in your life depend on your perceptions of those circumstances. You can see the worst in everything if you so choose, or you can look for the light within a bad situation. If you have a roof over your head and are at least able to think, breathe and move on your own today then you have an advantage over someone else in this world who would love to trade places with you. There’s nothing wrong with being thankful for the things you still have, because there is no guarantee that it will last forever. To sum it all up in a 2 word sentence, I will simply say this: “Be blessed…” 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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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“The greatest television show theme music ever?”)

Someone asked me which program I thought had the greatest theme song (musically in terms of orchestration, arrangement and quality or writing). There were a number of program themes (mostly from many years ago) that I felt deserved consideration. I listened to the ones that I knew of (even though there may be other themes that I have not encountered yet). I just know that whoever wrote this particular theme music was a “great” songwriter. From what I heard, everything on this track was awesome, so if I had to choose today, “This” would be my consideration as the best television theme show music “ever.” I welcome any and all opposing point of view. 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 (“Are we too busy to notice life?”)

If you notice, most of our lives are dedicated to accomplishing objectives each day. We wake up, we need to fix something to eat before we leave the house. We rush to get there on time, then we fulfill our obligations up to the point where it is time to take a break. Then we adhere to another time schedule to go back to our obligation until it is time to go back home. Then we have other things to do once we get back there. We are a people with so much to do that we can’t find time to “take in life.” Pressure mounts whenever we place emphasis on accomplishing something “by a certain time.” For many of us this is stress that is “self imposed.” For instance, are you one of those people who (whenever you are running late for something) always looks at your watch while trying to reach your destination? If you are already rushing to get there fast, then what purpose does it serve to continually check the time? Will taking note of the time help you to get there any faster? Of course not, but this is a prime example of how we add stress to our own lives. Do you find that you often worry about things that could possibly transpire “but have not happened yet?” When you always “ponder the worst” then you are contributing to your own anxiety or depression. While everyone goes through some type of stress at points in their lives, it is the “amount” of stress that can effect you and can even change you. For many people 9 to 5 jobs exhibit performance measures. In most of these occupations you have things you need to get done (and finish them by a certain time). Depending on the amount of work you do it could all have an effect on your health, your looks and your peace of mind. Whenever I am near an ocean, I love to just stand in front of the tide and just let my mind go. It relaxes me and it lets me know that there is more to this planet than just my responsibilities. I also get the same exuberance when I take a walk at night and gaze up into the stars. There is so much more to this universe but you will  never know if you don’t take a moment to breathe and take it all in. When you have a lot of responsibilities it will weigh in on you in one way of another. Take period moments to get out of your box and explore the things you never noticed before. Be at peace with yourself by not allowing your circumstances to get the best of you. Whenever I see faces of people in early morning rush hour traffic none of them looks happy. That’s because they have things to do and time deadlines to meet. Most of them don’t have time or desire to even smile. Make some time to marvel at life and bring an inner peace to yourself.. I honestly think in the long run you will be glad you did… 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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Harold Melvin’s Bluenotes (“Wake up everybody”) in concert with Brett Jolly on bass guitar


Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Will they ever get Bill Cosby?”)

This past weekend Bill Cosby’s court ordeal ended up in a mistrial. The jurors couldn’t come together on a unanimous verdict over his innocence or guilt. For those of you who don’t know this story, Mr. Cosby was brought up on charges of drugging and sexually violating a woman (Andrea Constand) at his suburban home in 2004. There are over 60 other cases of different women claiming that Cosby did the same thing to them (however the statute of limitations ran out on the others so they can not prosecute). I talked to several people about this trial and found lots of different opinions. Let’s take a look at some points: First, if Cosby had actually done the things that she claimed he did, then “why on earth” would she revisit him and even remain friends with him after that? Just that fact alone has me scratching my head. Let me give you a similar scenario: If you put your hand in the lion’s cage and he bites it, that would be terrible. However, should it be the lion’s fault if you go back and do the exact same thing again? Please don’t think that I am taking up for Cosby, because I am not. However, this doesn’t make sense to me. Also the fact that she claimed to be sure of a lot of things in her testimony, but her current  testimony contradicted earlier testimonies. When you add in the fact that it took her so long to press charges it all adds up to “uncertainty” and most times in court uncertainty won’t cut it.  If she has problems remembering some things, then how will we know that she doesn’t have problems remembering “most” things? In a court of law, lawyers will “pounce” on uncertainty. If they can poke holes in your testimony then what you say may actually help their case. I don’t know if Cosby will be found guilty in a second trial or not, but I do know that he is a tremendously popular figure who has had a great positive image for most of his career. Also, he is rich and can afford the best lawyers to help him. However, none of this means that he is innocent, and people need to realize that there is a big difference between being innocent and “Not being proven guilty.” When you have no proof other than your own words then you need to be “very convincing” to get a conviction. Personally, if over 60 women all claimed that Cosby drugged and violated them then I myself would tend to believe that he is guilty. However, even if I thought that way I would still not convict him of anything without “absolute” proof (and that might be the weakest part of the prosecutor’s agenda). Obviously sex happened. The real question is whether it was voluntary or not. I don’t believe it was (and I doubt anyone else believes it either). If they try to retry this case they will need to do better in presenting facts and details. Right now with what they have it just doesn’t seem like it’s enough to convict him. I would not support anyone who abuses or violates women, but everyone is entitled to a fair trial based on the evidence against him or her. Should they retry Cosby? In my opinion I think this original trial was the best shot that they had. I just can’t imagine them doing any better in presenting their case a second time. It could happen, but unless some new evidence comes up I just can’t see it. Cosby’s positive image may now be tainted, but I just don’t think there is enough evidence to send him to jail.  That is just my opinion. 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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Freddie Jackson in concert with Brett Jolly on bass

Freddie Jackson

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Father’s Day was yesterday”)

Father’s day is an annual tradition here in the US, and many of us paid homage to fathers. Just like the mothers, fathers should also be acknowledged for their contributions to raising children. However, what of those males who are not actively involved in their children’s lives? Should they also be acknowledged? To me the answer is simple: “Hell no!” Bringing a child into this world doesn’t make you a father. It makes you a donor. Being a father doesn’t just start with or end with birth. While the love of a mother is precious the strength of a father is so necessary for a child to proper in life. Many mothers have had to play the role of father due to absence in their child’s life and I think those women deserve to celebrate “Father’s day” as well. So why would any father “not” want to participate in his child’s life? I could think of a couple of things: “pressure, insecurity, abusive traits, common sense, lack of love and more.” None of these are acceptable. When a father lacks love for his child it is never a reflection on the child. It is a reflection on the parent. I personally know of a man who has 19 kids (most with different women). He claims to love his kids (and it is possible that he does love them) but he has put them in situations where he cannot provide anything for them. What can you say to a man who has 19 kids with no steady income and no means to provide? “Not much.” Father’s day should be about those who will contribute lovingly to the children they brought into the world. If you don’t love your child then there is something “seriously wrong with you.” We all know this world is not perfect.  There are people who don’t understand what life truly entails. They think of themselves and nothing more. Your child needs you. Excuses don’t cut it.  To all the fathers who express awesome love for their children (and to all those mothers out there who play both roles so well in raising their children) I hope you all had a prosperous  and well deserved “Father’s day.” For the rest of you “it isn’t too late.” It’s not about where you come from, but where you are headed that determines true value. Make up for lost time, and find a way to hug your child today. I thanked my own father (Elton Jolly) for all he has done for me. He stepped up. 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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Actress Holly Robinson-Peete and Brett Jolly