Recently I caught up with one of the East Coast’s most secret and respected legendary bass guitarist, Brett Jolly. Since June is Black Music month I thought it would be a great time to not only feature but honor a dedicated, gifted, world traveled and sought after musician who while in Philly keeps under the radar. This is a true gentleman whose spirit exonerates humbleness, peace and love. I and the readers want to get to know this Brett Jolly whose name swirls around in the music atmosphere. As a result we had this conversation.
Who is the real Brett Jolly?
That's a great question. I am not sure if I can even define me. I do know that I love life. I love to smile. I love to help others and I believe strongly in quality of life. I grew up wanting to be a professional basketball player and the more I played basketball the better I got at music. I love being onstage, and I love writing, producing, videos, performing and photography. I love being creative.
How long have you been playing?
I started playing the piano at 4. My parents bought a piano and the next morning I figured out how to play a song on it. Nothing grand at that time, but it wasn't bad. Since then I laid off the piano and started playing bass at the age of 14. Someone brought a bass guitar over to the house and I learned it immediately and decided to keep on playing.
How many instruments can you play?
Mostly just keyboards, drums and bass, but if you put another instrument in front of me I will surely attempt to play it in hardly no time at all.
What was your first gig?
My brother was playing drums and I was on piano and we had a neighbor playing congas. We were performing over some lady's house. We made a "whopping" 5 dollars apiece. I was so happy. I thought we were professional at that time.
Where has your instrument taken you and what was that like?
I have had a very fulfilling career. I have played for people and events that most other musicians can only dream of. Some of the names include Teddy Pendergrass, Bill Withers, Olivia Newton John, Bonnie Raitt, Patti Labelle, Jill Scott, Chris Tucker, Chaka Khan and Usher. Right now I can honestly say that my reputation is fairly well known for playing bass and most musical people realize that they can call me as a substitute without "any" rehearsal and know that I will play the gig correctly (whether I even know the songs or not). I have performed in places like Canada, Europe, South America and Africa. In America, I have performed at the World Trade Center, The Apollo Theater, and several major theaters in other cities whose names I cannot recall.
What else do you love to do and where has that taken you?
I also love to do photography and writing songs. I have perfect pitch, so I can actually produce and write songs in my head. Later on I can transfer them to the recording. The photography has been doing well. For promoting one of my weekly musical events I usually do a photo shoot of a different woman modeling my bass guitar and feature it on a flyer. It has been great advertisement for both the show and the chosen model. I also have a blog that I write and I love to act whenever I get the opportunity. I have done plays, concerts and one day I would love to act in a movie.
Any current projects you’re doing?
Yes, I have a song that I wrote entitled If You Only Knew and it is extremely seductive. Currently I need to do a video for it, but I need a model to act as my love interest. A promotional team in Houston, Texas has test marketed the song and the results came back overwhelmingly in favor of the tune.
Any music, any links, any venues?
Some of my videos can be found on the Brett Jolly channel on Youtube. Also every Wednesday evening I host a special event for the area's best singers, musicians and talent of all kinds at 7165 Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia, Pa. We will play ANY type of music and we have so much fun doing it. We have played tunes by artists such as the Monkees, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond to Parliament Funkadelic, Graham Central Station and Bootsy Collins's Rubber Band. Currently this summer I am producing artists and putting packages together to showcase.