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Pete Jolly


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Pete Jolly—born Peter Ceragioli Jr. June 5, 1932, in New Haven, Connecticut; died November 6, 2004, in Pasadena, California—was an American West Coast jazz pianist and accordionist, likely best known for his performance of television themes and various movie soundtracks.

He began playing the accordion at age 3, and appeared on the radio program Hobby Lobby at age seven.

His composition “Little Bird” was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1963 (a minor hit on Fred Astaire’s Ava label), and he formed the Pete Jolly Trio in 1964. With the Trio, and also as a solo artist, he recorded several albums, the last being in 2000, a collaboration with Swedish jazz pianist Jan Lundgren. He also worked with other notable jazz artists, including Buddy DeFranco, Art Pepper, and Red Norvo, and for many years with EZ music arranger and director Ray Conniff.

Jolly’s music can be heard on television programs such as Get Smart, The Love Boat, I Spy, Mannix, M*A*S*H, and Dallas, as well as hundreds of movie soundtracks.

He died in Pasadena, California, from complications of bone marrow cancer, having been hospitalized from August to November, 2004.


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