V.S.O.P. #115 PETE JOLLY & RALPH PENA: THE DUO
Pete Jolly (piano, accordion); Ralph Pena (bass.
On September 18, 1960 Pete Jolly and Ralph Pena were culminating their successful tour of New Zealand with a final concert at the Colony Club in Auckland. They had spent the previous three weeks performing nightly at numerous venues in Welllington, Tauranga, Rotorua, Auckland, Dunedin, Christchurch, and in many other towns, becoming the first jazz artists to perform throughout New Zealand. The duo was a resounding success and their final performance was recorded for posterity by Roy McCarthy with a Telefunken reel-to-reel tape recorder. This tour was noteworthy enough to be reviewed in Downbeat, the following January and made a very deep impression on the New Zelanders who experienced this music for the first time. As a result, the tour promoters produced a private limited distribution LP from which a portion of this CD was produced. The balance came from what was left of the original tape, provided by John Good of Auckland, who had participated in sponsoring the tour.
The program on this CD provides some very memorable jazz that impressed those first exposed to it and continues to impress those that hear it today. Pete Jolly and Ralph Pena were fully attuned to each other’s playing and are in top form. Despite less than perfect instruments, the performances are as great as if made under ideal conditions. The selection of material, always a major concern for Pete Jolly, includes compositions that he recorded and played regularly, such as “Whistle While You Work”, George Wallington’s “Variations”, “Easy To Love”, “On Green Dolphin Street” and “I Don’t Wanna Be Kissed”, as well as outstanding versions of Bud Powell’s “Celia” and Thelonious Monk’s “Friday The Thirteenth”. The sound on this CD is fairly good considering the source material and the impromptu manner in which the performance came about. The concert was added to the tour on the day before it took place, and the normal dance floor of the Colony Club was covered with chairs to accommodate the 250 patrons who were on hand. This is excellent music that compares quite favorably with any of the available recordings by Pete Jolly and/or Ralph Pena.
Other source for CD: Amazon
City Hall Records