Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“RIP Al Jarreau”)

I love innovators in music. When I say innovators I essentially mean people that will take music to another level. Over this past weekend we lost a great vocalist when Al Jarreau passed away at the age of 76. What made him so great was his style of music and the way he used his voice as an instrument. He would often mimic sounds such as a rock guitar with his voice, or drums, or just about any other solo instrument. He did a vocal arrangement to the hit jazz classic Spain that was awesome. He had too many hits to name, so the best thing I can tell you is to just Google his name. While some of his songs featured basic singing, it was his vocal rifts that made him overly exceptional. He wasn’t a great dancer or anything like that. He didn’t have to be. Al did his music “his way” and the world accepted him “as is.” There were a lot of great songs in his career, but today I wanted to feature a tune that exemplifies his scatting and rift singing and that I think you can find in the link below:

Al was scheduled to perform here in Philadelphia very soon, but concerns grew as he fell ill and had to break away from his tour. The day before he passed he announced that he was retiring. I talked to a DJ friend of mine and we both agreed that Al was not the type of man who wanted to retire from what he loved to so. Music was his passion and he managed to see it all the way through until the end. The world will miss him, but his music will always be immortal. I think it is a firm bet that Al is actually up in Heaven “not just singing, but directing the choir.” May he rest eternally in God’s hands. 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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Email: Brettjolly@aol.com

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Singer Anthony Hamilton with Brett Jolly in concert

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (” Just imagine for a second if the election really WAS rigged”)

Donald Trump has been saying for quite a while that the system is “rigged.” Of course, he is referring to the upcoming Presidential Election system that is to be held this Tuesday, November 8. This is a very strong statement to even assume. For the sake of legitimacy let’s actually “examine the possibility that he could be right.” Bernie Sanders ran against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. However, Wikileaks (with a leak of 20,000 emails) showed that the DNC staff actually discussed how to deal with Bernie Sander’s popularity as a challenge to Hillary Clinton. That would mean that instead of letting the primaries play themselves out in a “winner take all” scenario it was “quite possible” that Hillary was “already favored” before the contest even started. If this was indeed the case then one could safely argue the fact that the primaries were “somewhat rigged.” When we look at another “past” election, it had been said years ago that Al Gore won the “popular vote” while George Bush still claimed the Presidency when they ran against each other. Many believe to this day that particular election was “rigged.” So is it even “possible” that this election could be rigged also? While “anything is possible” it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is “probable.” Let’s just imagine for a second that some “electoral powers” had colluded to plot Hillary’s victory. If so, then what would have been the best way for them to make this happen? While Trump claims that the election (which has not even transpired yet) is rigged against him, is it quite possible that it was rigged “FOR” him when he ran in the Republican primaries? When you think about it, Trump won rather handily against his Republican adversaries, crushing most of them to become the nominee. Now imagine “this” scenario… If the “forces that be” wanted to ensure a Hillary victory on November 8, who would be the best candidate for her to run against in a fair election? Whether you agree or not, Trump’s campaign has practically “imploded” on many counts due to his own methodology for running his campaign. Many people believe that Trump himself has been responsible for his subpar poll ratings. What better way to ensure a Hillary victory than to have her run against someone who in many eyes seems unstable and disrespectful with a hot temper? Would it have been tougher for her to win against a Mario Rubio or a Ted Cruz? Because of Trump’s penchant for “self destructing” maybe it was somehow “ordained” for him to handily win those primaries so that Hillary could stand a better chance to beat an alleged “inferior candidate” in a “fair” election. As far fetched as this sounds, it is actually “quite possible.” So many shows and media have actually made a “joke” of Trump’s Presidential run that it is possible that our minds are being manipulated and we don’t even know it. In the eyes of many, NEITHER candidate seems trustworthy, but when choosing the lessor of 2 evils Clinton appears to have the edge today. When you think about it, just about “everything” we think has been “manipulated” through the media we watch and through the people and circumstances we encounter. That’s why politicians ask for so much money to promote their campaign. If our minds can be manipulated, then just about “anything” can be rigged. Trump “may” be right, or he may not… but the same system that he clams will work against him tomorrow is part of the same system that brought him to where he is today. If he didn’t complain about it then, should he complain about it now? Please keep in mind that today’s Daily Thought is “purely hypothetical” and we are “not insinuating by ANY means” that the election is rigged.” We know better than that. We merely decided to take a look at how it could possibly work if what Mr. Trump said is true. I invite you to draw your “own” conclusions. 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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Email: Brettjolly@aol.com

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In the studio with Bill Withers (grey beard to far left) his daughter (next to him) and singer Anthony Hamilton (white shirt with cap) and Brett Jolly off to far right or picture

Bill_Withers,_daughter_and_Anthony_Hamilton

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Please be attentive”)

Yesterday evening I played my normal Wednesday night event. I enjoy this time of the week and normally we have so much fun. Unfortunately, the mood of the night shifted to anger when we discovered that one of our band members was beaten outside in the parking lot with the intent to rob. The band member was getting his equipment out of his car when about 6 or 7 youths rushed him and started beating and kicking him. According to my friend, one of them even had a gun. As he laid there on the ground one of the youths said “You know what this is about… hand it over.” Before anything else could happen something made them disperse quickly. I was really upset when hearing of this, and I am so sorry that I wasn’t there at that particular time to help my friend. While nothing can change what happened, I am hoping that posting his experience will help others. You see, this happened during the nighttime hours, and he was handling his equipment by  himself with no one else around at that time. They rushed him while his attention was turned towards the handling of his equipment in the car so he never saw them coming. They got to him through the element of surprise. The best way to make sure you never become a victim is for you to pay attention to your surroundings. The lot was big enough for him to lock himself in his car if he had only taken notice of this gang approaching beforehand. Since he knew the other band members would be coming soon he could also have just waited for them to arrive so that there would be witnesses around. Thugs will prey on you only when they know no one else is around to identify them. Finally, it is beneficial to have a mode of defense. You don’t need a gun. My other friend (who is a police officer) said that mace of pepper spray will render anyone incapacitated and out of commission. Women especially need to  have this and it could definitely help save lives. The gang that did this were cowards. The place where we play is not even in a bad neighborhood, but these guys just happened to be roaming through it on this night. I remember years ago pulling into a gas station to get gas. As I pulled up next to the pump, there were 2 young males looking around VERY suspiciously. None of them was buying anything and the both of them kept talking quietly at each other while “pointing” to different people buying gas. This triggered something in me, and after they pointed at me I made my own assessment to drive off. Later on I heard that there had been a robbery there. I paid attention and I did not become a victim that night. Please never assume that something bad can never happen to you. Punks who want your money will come to your neighborhood to get it (because they know that the chances of you having it  and them not being recognized are greater). When you drive into someplace at night, don’t get out of the car immediately. Survey the area first and make note of anything you deem “suspicious.” Pay attention wherever you go, and hopefully you can avert being the “next victim.” Thank you for reading my Daily Thought, and as always I wish the very best to you that life has to offer.

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email: Brettjolly@aol.com

Skype: Brettjolly1

Bill Withers (grey hair to the far left), his daughter in the middle, Anthony Hamilton in the white shirt and cap and Brett Jolly to the far right

Bill_Withers,_daughter_and_Anthony_Hamilton

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (My experience with Bill Withers)

I wanted to reminisce about a time I had a few years back where I had a long conversation with a musical idol of mine. His name is Bill Withers and when I first met him I only saw the whiteness of the back of his head (and his tall stature) but somehow I just “knew” it was him. My only recollection of him was pictures of him much younger with “no” grey in his hair. Of course, he was much older now, and to my surprise he was “very eager” to talk to me. We conversed about a lot, but one of the main things he mentioned was that he felt it was “time” to get out of the music business when it started to change for the worse. He said that record labels no longer cared about writing songs that pertained to life itself. They were willing to degrade their products just to make a sale. If you ever listened to Bill’s music you will find realness in his lyrics. He always had a story to tell. I told him that my favorite song of his was one that was actually “not” one of his biggest hits, a song simply entitled “She wants to get on down.” He told me that I loved the song because of the great bass line that’s in it, and I couldn’t disagree with him. However, I just found a song of his that also was not a big hit that I truly like as well. It has to be one of the shortest songs on record but the lyrics to this are truly powerful. The song is entitled “Better off dead” and here is the link to it:

I learned a lot about the old music business from him (some things I can mention and some things I can’t) but I enjoyed my time (over an hour) chatting with Mr. Withers. I have heard people say that they have had extreme difficulty trying to find him to get an interview. He gave me an awesome one that I will always treasure. Bill’s voice is just about gone now. He is retired from singing (in fact, I just “might” be the last bass player to have ever played for him… That’s how much he doesn’t want to sing anymore). If you ever get the chance, please Google the name Bill Withers and check out his music. If you like soulful music with great lyrics then you won’t feel cheated at all by him. It was my pleasure to perform with him and thank you for allowing me to share my memory with you today. Thanks for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer today.

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Email: Brettjolly@aol.com
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Bill Withers (white hair to the left) his daughter, Anthony Hamilton and Brett Jolly in rehearsal at PIR studios

Bill_Withers,_daughter_and_Anthony_Hamilton

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“The state of music for the sake of music”)

Over the course of history, fashionable music has gone through many changes. For instance, the music of the 1960’s is vastly different from the music of today. The question is, “Have any of these changes made the industry better?” Granted, the value of music largely depends on the values of the person listening to it. “One man’s music can easily be another man’s misery.” Years ago, musicians would come together in a studio and they would individually “perform” the parts needed to make a composition. In a lot of today’s scenarios, there might not be “even one” musician on the set. Now sound technicians can either obtain or create tracks from online. While the quality of the recordings have improved tremendously the quality of the music is “subject to interpretation.” Rarely do most studios even allow for a “real drummer” to play anymore. Drum tracks are often sequenced and can be slowed down or sped up, while not losing any of the tempo once set. This basically means that today’s artists are more concerned with “time elements” than any “natural feels” of drummers. This is mostly the case when it comes to “dance cuts.” As for the other musicians, bass patches can be played on most keyboards. Hardly anyone uses authentic horn players or string ensembles anymore in most of today’s conventional music. Technology is supposed to have improved the quality of music, and yet sales of recordings have “dipped significantly” over the years. What is wrong here? Well, in my “own” opinion, I always thought that “music was expression.” Music should be intended to stroke a soul or invoke an emotion. For instance, when Marvin Gaye recorded his classic album “What’s going on” he touched on the troubles of that time period. From war to taxes and just about everything else, Marvin’s music reached many who could actually “feel” where he was coming from. When music transformed to disco that whole element was just about “dancing” to the perfect beat. Anything else that was introduced that had any altered drum timing or pattern was not considered worthy, no matter how artistic the song may have been. Years later, the emergence of rap introduced even more “simplicity in music.” Most rappers never needed a symphonic accompaniment for their tracks. They mostly needed straight drums and maybe a touch of some other instruments to make their music presentable. In all, music is “still evolving (but not necessarily selling). Many of the old record labels are no longer in existence and the internet is playing a larger part in how people find the music they like. I sincerely doubt that the state of todays music will still be the same in the years ahead. I only hope that this change will be an “improvement.” Of course, I realize that there are others who will disagree. If they like the “current state” of today’s music, then I hope they enjoy it “while it lasts.” I just can’t see it staying the same way it is now. Time will tell if I am right, and I thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today. As always, I wish you the very best that life has to offer. Please make it a great one.

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Email: Brettjolly@aol.com

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Singer Anthony Hamilton and Brett Jolly in concert

Anthony_Hamilton

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: “What instrument should you buy for your child?’)

So I’m playing this gig the other day and afterwards a mother comes up to me and tells me that she wants to get her young boy into music. She said that she wanted to buy him a flute, but her son seemed to be more into playing drums. She asked me what she should do. I told her that while a flute is a great instrument, when it comes to musicianship it is “limited” in opportunities.  For instance, it is “extremely rare” to find a flute in rock,  R&B,  reggae, or even gospel. However, just about “all” of these groups will “need” a drummer. I have always found that kids are fascinated whenever they see musicians play, but when getting your child an instrument you need to keep “modern technology” in mind. Most flutes are usually found in “orchestras sections.” Performing in an orchestra is a great honor, but it probably won’t get you as many gigs as being in a smaller and more popular type unit. When most people hire bands for functions, the less the amount of musicians the less amount of money that has to be paid out to those musicians. When it comes to recording in the studio, a lot of today’s keyboards have a “flute patch.” What that means is that you can get the exact sound of a flute on the keyboard, so instead of hiring a flute player  you can just let the keyboard player “play” the flute part and most people would not be able to tell the difference. The same can be done for harmonica, violins, trumpet, sax (some patches are more realistic than others) and  yes, even bass (Argh). Technology is so great now that in the studio you may only need a keyboard player to play all parts (and in some cases they won’t need a musician AT ALL). I know because when I write my own tunes I play mostly all of the instrument parts through the keyboard. I don’t have to hire anyone else for my own music. I just put the different parts down one instrument at a time on different music tracks. So when it came to this mother I gave her some advice that I hope she takes to heart. The musicians who will get the most work are usually those that play either lead guitar, drums, keyboards or bass. This group is called the rhythm section, and just about all live performance concerts will feature  this setting of musicians. After that, it would be great to play a sax. When I was younger I was inspired by a group of musicians that performed in my school. I remember saying to myself, “I wish I could be like them.” Well, today… I “am.” If your child seems to have an interest in music,  you just might be contributing to the next BB  King, John Coltrane, or Dizzy Gillespie. A child will only learn from what is “available” to that child, so getting that child an instrument just “might” keep that child from wanting to roam the streets with the wrong element. My parents brought home pool tables, ping pong tables, baseball equipment, art supplies, basketballs  and a piano, and I learned how to work “them ALL.” Your child’s greatest asset is “you.” When a parent contributes to a child’s inspiration then that child has a great chance to accomplish great things. Is “your” child worth it? Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today, and as always, I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

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Email: Brettjolly@aol.com

Skype: Brettjolly1

singer Anthony Hamilton and Brett Jolly in concert

Anthony_Hamilton

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: Legendary keyboardist Joe Sample)

Over  the weekend, legendary keyboardist Joe Sample died. His talent was extraordinary and his compilations are timeless. The sad part about his death was the legacy that he “didn’t” leave to many young  musicians growing up now. Joe Sample was “jazz,” natural and soulful. He didn’t rely on samples, drum machines or DJ’s to play his music. What he recorded he played without the aid of modern day technology. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to work with him or even talk to  him, but my brother, Bill Jolly, did. He told me that Joe was a really cool guy (kind of like Bill Withers) who would talk to you like you were his good friend. He was straight up, truthful and to the point and he could probably throw in a little sarcasm along the way as well. Joe founded the Jazz Crusaders (which later on became known as just “The Crusaders”) and if you like to hear quality jazz music with soul to it then you need to Google this group. Unfortunately, the band disbanded in the 90’s and Sample went on to pursue a successful solo career. You would have to be accomplished musicians to be able to play his works and I am proud to say that I have played a lot of his songs. Mr. Sample may be gone, but it is up to us to keep his music alive. A young kind growing up to play piano “needs to hear” the music of Joe Sample, and we need to find a way to keep “jazz music” in the mainstream of popularity. There are not as many jazz stations as there used to be, because it hasn’t been supported like it needs to be. We can  change that, and hopefully keep an important art form from becoming extinct. The “next” Joe Sample is out there somewhere, and he needs to be inspired to play. Music is “not” just some loop you find online. A musician needs to be able to create and if you take away his or her inspirations then you are in essence stifling creativity. I will miss Joe Sample, but I will have his music to carry on. You can too. Keep jazz alive… Thank you and have a great day.

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Email: Brettjolly@aol.com

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Singer Anthony Hamilton and Brett Jolly in concert

Anthony_Hamilton