Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“A moment with Teddy Pendergrass”)

I was blessed and lucky enough to play for Teddy for 6 years. I had a lot of fun and I can’t believe I almost turned the gig down. The scenario happened like this: Teddy had a bass player already in place. He was a friend of Teddy’s but with 2 days to go for a gig in Mobile, Alabama he “pulled out” because of a prior commitment. Teddy needed a “fast” rehearsal and I was called in “cold” to play. For me, I wasn’t really worried a lot about it much, because I play by ear, and I had heard a lot of his tunes already. Since I have perfect pitch I can play just about anything that I can hear well. When we had the rehearsal I played his “entire” set list down without any mishap. He pulled me to the side afterwards and said to me, “You came in here cold without any warning and played my show better than my regular bass player. Would you like to have this gig?” I looked at him and simply said “Yeah, why not?” I then realized that I was supposed to play for another gig that  same day, and I had a conflict, but then found out later that the gig wasn’t happening anyway. Teddy was a great superstar who suffered from being paralyzed. While he wanted to go on he mentioned to me that he was somewhat scared about how people would perceive him in a wheelchair. I told him that the best way for people to accept others is to just go out there and show them how well you can do it. I told him about Stevie Wonder. I said, “Just imagine how uncomfortable it was for people to see a blind man performing.” I’m sure there were some people who just couldn’t go through a concert like that because they wouldn’t understand. I told Teddy that just he was in a position to change the views of the entire world through his performances. Granted, he had a sexy style of singing that had been changed drastically through his circumstances, but he also had the chance to make things great for other paralyzed people across the world. Needless to say, Teddy did his thing and his audiences “loved him.” The women still threw panties on the stage Teddy was very well accepted. Life can change instantly for people. Your skills should never be diminished by your circumstances. If you have a great skill, then as long as you have it you should still use it. Detours in life are not the same as roadblocks. Make things happen for you that will open the eyes of others. In the end, you will be the one who comes out looking positive. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the absolute best that life has to offer.

Teddy Pendergrass in concert with Brett Jolly on bass guitar

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Video of us performing a classic Graham Central Station tune”)

When I say that we like to play any song, I mean it. We take requests and we have so much fun doing so. We may not know all the lyrics (Sometimes we have to make them up on the fly) but that never stops us from having fun playing music. In this clip we are performing a classic Graham Central Station tune. We do all genres of music. I hope you enjoy this song. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer. If you are in the Atlantic City area tonight we will be performing at Kelsey’s restaurant (1545 Pacific Avenue) in Atlantic City, New Jersey at 7:30. They have great food, a great band and an ocean. Thank you and have a great day.

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“We need to start paying attention to people’s social media accounts”)

Yet “another” school shooting in Florida. 17 people died after an expelled student came back and decided to take revenge on the school. This happened yesterday, and the sad part of this (from what I noticed in reports) is that this student’s behavior seemed odd to many but was never investigated. He even posted his desires on social media. Nikolas Cruz was obviously a disturbed student who had emotional problems. Judging from the reports I heard he didn’t  even try to hide what he felt. He reportedly even bragged to people about the violence he wanted to commit. Why did no one pay attention to him? The next question would be “How did he manage to stockpile the amount of guns and ammunition that he had given his disturbing background? When it comes to deranged minds and school shootings it shouldn’t be difficult to to determine their objectives. They starve for attention, which is why they often brag or boast first when it comes to what they plan to do. This young man might even have had mental issues that needed to be examined. We can’t keep continuing to dismiss or ignore people claiming to have violent tendencies, and we can’t ignore people’s social media pages either. It should be considered a “legal crime” to allude to violence on your social media page. If that had been done with this kid 17 people might still be alive today and others might have been spared injuries. I guess we will have to wait until later to find out “how” he managed to acquire so many arms. Did he do so “legally” and was a background check down on him at all? If we don’t do something now then “everyone” will be at risk. I have the feeling that the answers to this puzzle will only be the same as some of the others. This means that just as in the other cases, nothing will be done. It can stop, but only when we utilize the power we have to make that happen. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

Jean Carne in concert with Brett Jolly on bass guitar

Jean Carne

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Today is Valentine’s Day”)

Today is a special day for lovers. Granted, some couples will “renew their love vows” today, while others will fall apart due to “unfulfilled expectations.” The main objective for most people today is to “get through this” with the hope that all will “still” be well. Restaurants will be filled with people while some men take their loved ones out to dinner. There should also be more reservations for movies, etc. When it comes to love today, hopefully everyone will at least “feel” loved. For your own plans, hopefully you will be able to manage them in a way that will cause you less stress. If your loved one(s) feels unappreciated that could cause problems. Get to know your special one so that you won’t become one of those statistical victims to Valentines Day.  Make the most of it today, and hopefully all will be well. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

The Whispers in concert with Brett Jolly on bass guitar

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Have you noticed changes in the Black R&B Market over the years?”)

When I was younger, I used to love getting Ebony and Jet magazines. They allowed me to know some of the things that were happening in the Black and minority communities. I also used to listen to “Jazz” music that would often be featured on the Black (R&B) Stations. Tunes like “This Masquerade” by George Benson or “Friends and Strangers” by Ronnie Laws were great songs that would often get played on R&B stations, even when they couldn’t get played on others. Also, Black radio would inform me a lot about activity going on in my community locally. It is very difficult to recognize Black radio now. Now it seems like a lot of the on air personalities are “syndicated” (one person broadcasts to all the communities across the country) and they only deal with national issues… nothing local. You used to be able to call in and request a song. The on air personalities that I still associate with said that people know they could no longer get requests, so they just “stopped calling.” Where are all these things now? It appears as though all these things are slowly “being removed” from us. What has happened to the Black Market? Jazz music has now become “smooth jazz” and if you are one of those cities who “still” has a smooth jazz radio station you will often hear artists that were never considered jazz at all during their heyday. Artists like Simply Red, Marvin Gaye and even Luther VanDross have had the labels “altered” and their genres changed. There used to be a lot of groups (bands) such as the SOS band, The Mass Production band,  The Dazz band, Confunction, Rolls Royce,  and the Brass Construction band that dominated the airwaves, but now you rarely hear of “any” bands playing Black music or even “sounding Black.” If it were not for Black radio, who would have ever heard of Evelyn Champagne King? What has happened to our sound and our heritage? It feels as though someone is attempting to wipe our memories and our history out of our minds “gradually.” I think they are hoping that none of us will notice. Of course the most simple answer to this would be “money.” Obviously it must not have been that profitable to advertise in the Black market. I once thought that programs like Soul Train would run forever. Not only has the program gone, but nothing else has come along to take it’s place. They promoted Afro Sheen Conditioners and Blow Out kits. All gone now. Your history should be important to you. If you cannot recognize that your history is slowly becoming “extinct” then you are in for a great “brainwashing.” Change is inevitable. Just because social media like radio and television alter their programs doesn’t mean that you have to change your own identity to fit their wishes. We need to see what is happening, and we need to unite to make sure our identities remain intact. If you get the chance, just take a listen to your station, and then compare it with how it used to be. Then you can come up with your “own” assessment. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

Gerald Levert in concert with Brett Jolly on bass guitar

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“The role of a parent”)

I’m sure that some people will believe that the role of a parent should never change. When your kids are young you guide and if necessary control behavior. Some parents will still attempt to do this when your kids have fully grown. My father was masterful when it came to raising me and my brother. As we got older he became more of an advisor to us. He told us what he thought we should do rather than try to do things for us. To me that made a significant difference in my life. A parent’s role should change as a child grows up, and to some extent parents need to allow their children to make some of the same mistakes we made growing up. Many years ago I knew a lady who was spiritually grounded. She had 2 daughters that were brought up heavily in church and they were sheltered from the world. They were beautiful spirit wise and everyone knew they were well protected. When they finally went off to college to be on their own they “both” got pregnant in their first years and had to drop out, because they didn’t know the world they lived in. Their mother “protected” them, but she didn’t “prepare” them. The last time I saw those fully grown women they were nothing like the little girls I knew. I try to keep things like this in mind when dealing with my own kids. I allow my kids to come to me about anything and I won’t judge them first before hearing them. My kids love me (and I love them back) and they always know that their father will listen first and support them. My daughter in college calls me about her relationship issues all the time and I guide her instead of trying to control her. She loves the fact that I will alway listen to her. My relationship with my kids is important to me. Everyone has their own methods for dealing with kids. Some of those methods work and some do not. If you consider yourself to be a controlling parent (while your kids have grown up) and your ways are not working then maybe you should try being more of an advisor now. Some kids don’t like to be controlled all the time. It might make the biggest difference in your parental relationship. For your kid’s sakes I hope you “try it.” Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought. As always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

Brett Jolly, sax master Wynton Marsalis and keyboardist Stan Brisbon

Wynton Marsalis

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“A song that I wish I could have played with the original artist”)

Yes, I love this song. I had the opportunity to play a lot of great tunes with the original artists, but I never got to play for this one. A great entertainer, and a real innovator when it came to performing his style of music. He knew how to properly use his voice as an instrument and the world benefitted from hearing him. He is gone now, but his music is immortal. I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.