It’s been over 20 years since I met Jerry Donato. Jeez…is that possible? It was on a jingle date and since that time we’ve done several films, TV, more jingles, documentaries and lots of records. Whatever it took to keep the wheels on this thing we euphemistically call a career. During these times Jerry has been the consummate pro…always great on several instruments, a great arranger and always, ALWAYS very musical! He always came up with the right thing at the right time and was whomever we needed him to be at the time. Now, with this record, it’s time for Jerry to be Jerry. He chose as his vehicle the music of the “Cool” or “West Coast” era…probably an imprecise label for the music of Shorty Rogers, Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Jimmy Giuffre and Pete Jolly among others.
But this is far from a “nostalgic” record…Jerry, Bob Freedman and the great musicians on this disc make this music relevant and alive, as artists should, and do every night though Americans, for the most part, miss it. Regardless of the historical implications, this was a labor of love for someone who has earned both our admiration and great respect. And I think I speak for everyone involved in this project when I say we’re proud to call you friend Jerry. And I’m sure that goes as well for Jerry’s newest friend Pete Jolly, who sadly, provides his last recorded performance here.
Pete, who was raised in Phoenix, was just one of the finest musicians of this or any other era and just to prove it we’ve included as a bonus track Pete on accordion recorded live in Phoenix in 1955 by another Phoenix legend, engineer Jack Miller. This is one of Pete’s first recordings and it’s somehow fitting that Pete came home to do the “coda” with us. And thanks to Jerry for making it happen! CSR