When pianist Pete Jolly passed away in 2004, he was one of the last major survivors of the West Coast jazz scene of the 1950s. A powerful two-handed pianist influenced by Bud Powell but having his own style within straight-ahead jazz, Jolly worked in Los Angeles for decades, which led to him being underrated and often overlooked by the rest of the jazz world. Jolly had a trio with bassist Chuck Berghofer and drummer Nick Martinis that lasted over 40 years. However just prior to the formation of that group, Jolly often worked in a duo with bassist Ralph Pena. The music on this CD, of which originally only a dozen LPs were pressed, is rare in the extreme. It is taken from a 1960 tour of New Zealand and features Jolly and Pena digging into a variety of jazz standards and originals. Most unusual are the fairly early covers of Bud Powell's "Celia," George Wallington's obscure "Variations," and Thelonious Monk's "Friday the Thirteenth." Pete Jolly and straight-ahead jazz piano collectors will definitely want this rare item.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow