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Pete Jolly's "Seasons" (1970) Returns to Vinyl

Heavily Sampled Since its Release, the Herb Alpert Produced Album Finds a Reissue



Future Days Recordings, an imprint of acclaimed archival label Light in the Attic, proudly announces the long-awaited reissue of Pete Jolly’s 1970 album Seasons, on vinyl for the first time in over 50 years. Sought after by crate-diggers, DJs, and jazz aficionados alike, as well as sampled by everyone from Jay Dee and Cypress Hill to Busta Rhymes, the album was far ahead of its time and a stylistic departure for Jolly, full of atmospheric grooves and soulful vignettes like “Springs,” “Leaves,” “Sand Storm,” and “Plummer Park.” Produced by Herb Alpert (who originally released the album on his label A&M Records), Seasons also features a who’s who of session musicians, including the Wrecking Crew’s Chuck Berghofer and Milt Holland, plus Emil Richards, Paul Humphrey, and John Pisano.

 

Due out March 29th and available to pre-order now, Seasons has been remastered from its original analog tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and pressed at RTI on two special color variants: clear amber and clear light green (both seen below and are available exclusively at LightintheAttic.net). Rounding out the album are insightful new liner notes by music journalist Dave Segal (The Stranger, Pitchfork, Aquarium Drunkard), who interviewed Alpert and Berghofer about their memories of Jolly.

 

Two-time GRAMMY®-nominee Pete Jolly (1932 – 2004) was a virtuosic multi-instrumentalist whose work on the piano, organ, and accordion, in particular, could be heard on classic West Coast jazz albums, as well as on countless TV and film scores–including M*A*S*H, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Clint Eastwood’s Charlie Parker biopic Bird, during which he faithfully recreated Bud Powell’s piano performances with the legendary horn player.

 

Raised in Phoenix, AZ, Jolly (born Peter Ceragioli Jr.) was a prodigious musician who garnered local media attention as a child for his talents. At 20, he followed his friend and future Wrecking Crew guitarist Howard Roberts to Los Angeles, where he split his time between studio sessions and work with West Coast jazz icons like Shorty Rogers and Barney Kessel. By 1955, Jolly had recorded his debut as a leader, while nearly a decade later, he was spotted by legendary bandleader, producer, and record executive Herb Alpert, who signed the musician to his label A&M Records. “I was really struck by [Jolly's] amazing talent,” Alpert tells Segal. “His music really spoke to me.” Under A&M, Jolly released three albums: Herb Alpert Presents Pete Jolly (1968), Give A Damn (1969), and Seasons (1970).

 

While his first two albums for A&M were traditional cool jazz and bop sessions, featuring a collection of standards and contemporary pop hits, Seasons was a stylistic 180 for the musician. Comprised of nearly all originals (aside from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Younger Than Springtime” and Roger Nichols’ “Seasons”), all but one song from the album was recorded in one marathon, four-hour improvisation. It was a testament to the talents of all the musicians involved, including Chuck Berghofer (bass), John Pisano (guitar), Milt Holland (percussion), Paul Humphrey (drums), and Emil Richards (percussion). Jolly, meanwhile, played a wealth of instruments, including a Wurlitzer electronic piano, accordion, musette, Sanovox accordion organ, and Hammond B-3 organ. At the helm was Alpert, serving as producer.

 

“We literally improvised as we went along–using visual and musical communications between ourselves to let the tunes happen, breathe, and expand. It’s as simple as that,” wrote Jolly in the album’s original liner notes. “Then we edited down the four hours of tape, did a little overdubbing, and this album is the result.”

 

Berghofer, who played with Jolly for nearly 40 years, marvels, “We’d never done anything like that before–or since. It was just made up as you go along. He’d start playing, and we’d just follow him.” He adds, “Instead of straight-ahead tunes, it was a whole other world.”

 

Seasons was certainly far ahead of its time and, today, remains a wholly original gem. Electronic, yet organic. Freeform, yet brimming with complex melodic themes. Throughout the album, Jolly and his fellow musicians float between jazz and pop, as they paint evocative aural sceneries. From the dreamy opening bars of “Leaves” (starring Jolly on a delicate, reverb-heavy Fender Rhodes), it’s clear to listeners that they’re about to embark on a transcendent musical meditation. Decades later, the track would spark the imagination of acts like De La Soul, Cypress Hill, and Redman–all of whom reimagined “Leaves” in their own works.

 

Another producer favorite is “Plummer Park,” a funky jam full of futuristic flourishes, courtesy of Jolly’s lightning-fast keyboard work. Offering equally delicious grooves is “Spring,” which was sampled by the likes of Nightmares On Wax and Ugly Duckling. Other highlights include the manic “Bees,” which Segal calls a “jazzy infiltration into Kingsley/Perrey-style synth madness,” and the dynamic “Sandstorm.” The band also delivers two covers: a cool-jazz take on Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Younger than Springtime” (from the 1949 musical South Pacific) and a cheery rendition of Roger Nichols’ “Seasons” (later looped on Vast Aire’s “Look Mom No Hands”). Seasons closes with the cheeky “Pete Jolly,” which features a lengthy accordion intro by the bandleader himself.



While Seasons never had significant commercial success upon its release, it has since amassed a cult following, leading collectors to pay top dollar for copies of the rare record. Out of print since 1971, it has only been reissued once on CD. Segal puts the album’s massive demand in perspective: “British label owner Jonny Trunk put up an original pressing of the LP for sale for an undisclosed but large sum on Instagram in January 2023, and it sold in five minutes.”

 

Behind the frenzy for Seasons, however, stands the legacy of Pete Jolly, whose talents have never been forgotten by those who worked with him. “There was nobody like him,” shares Berghofer. “I learned so much from Pete… He was a guide to me. He made me much better than I ever would have been had I not met him. He could’ve been much more popular if he had [promoted] himself at all. He never tried to be some big deal.” Alpert adds, “His music spoke for him as an artist. He was one of my favorite jazz musicians, and I don’t think he got his fair due.”

 

Jolly never released another album like Seasons but enjoyed a prolific career for the rest of his life. In Hollywood, he worked on hundreds of TV and film scores, including those for Quincy Jones (Roots), Jack Nitzsche (Heart Beat), and Tom Waits (One from the Heart), while he continued to record as a sideman and leader until his death–often with Berghofer.

 

“With Seasons back in circulation, maybe Pete Jolly will finally gain the broader audience that his phenomenal skills merit,” writes Segal. “If nothing else, it serves as a valuable lesson to artists: venturing outside of your comfort zone can bring the most interesting, enduring results.”

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