Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gerritsen boys erect 'Monuments in the Desert'

Jeff Jolly is coming home to Brooklyn.

By Meredith Deliso

As a teen, Jeff Jolly would walk around Gerritsen Beach with songbooks in one hand, and a guitar in another. Setting up at P.S. 277’s park, he would supply the tunes and the music, until it eventually got to the point where 50 people were singing along to Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and James Taylor.

“Everywhere you’d go, it was, ‘You got the books?’” remembers Jolly, who now lives in San Francisco. “I’d be walking down the street with all the books in my hands. I never carried that many books to school, I can tell you that.”

His friend, Jim Hubbard (left), another musician from the area, remembers hanging out at Gerritsen Beach park during the ‘70s.

“We were grunge before it was grunge, with the knit hats, long hair, flannel shirts, and construction boots,” remembers Hubbard, who currently lives in Honolulu. “We’d hang out in the park in any weather, drinking at night and getting chased by the cops. That was our local sport.”

On July 26, Jolly and Hubbard return to New York for “Monuments in the Desert,” a four-hour show July 26 at the Dicapo Opera Theatre in Manhattan, the first time the two will be sharing the same stage.

The reunion is a long time coming, as the two have been looking to play together for years. It wasn’t until Hubbard was approached about doing a show out in New York, and he called up Jolly to see if he could come out, too. The two couldn’t be more trilled to be back in New York.

“I’m going to see so many faces I haven’t seen in 15 years,” says Jolly, who’s also looking forward to some Italian food and fishing in Gerritsen Beach once he’s back in town. “Just to see all those people from that era, it’s kind of rewarding to see that people actually remember all that stuff. It was a good part of our lives.”

About 10 years ago, Jolly moved to San Francisco to pursue a music career there with his own band.“I base myself out of here, but I don’t consider myself a Californian,” says Jolly. “The best thing to do with a band is to remove them from their surroundings. It was a hard thing to do but really made the difference.”

Indeed, the move has been a success. One of the recent highlight’s for Jolly was playing at the 40th anniversary of “The Summer of Love” in Golden Gate Park a couple years back in front of 60,000 people. He also just put out a new album, “Jeff Jolly’s Pizza,” a concoction featuring friends he met on the road, including Bill Payne (Little Feat), Joe Craven and The Uptown Horns.

His job as a registered nurse brought Hubbard out to Hawaii more than 22 years ago. Since, he has established himself as a folk musician in Honolulu, playing regular gigs with his band, including his 17-year-old son, Shayne, and putting out four albums. His most recent includes “It Never Ends,” which draws heavily on his home town.

“I miss it [Brooklyn] still terribly after 22 years,” says Hubbard. “This show’s vision was sort of a reunion, and so far I’ve talked to people I haven’t heard from in 35 years. It really has brought people together again, and we haven’t played a note yet.”

The Jeff Jolly Band and the Jim Hubbard Band play “Monuments in the Desert” on July 26 at the Dicapo Opera Theatre (184 E. 76th St.) at 3 p.m. Also on the bill are Vince Pasternak, Barbara Truex, and Ken Lovelett. Tickets are $40 and be purchased by calling 212-352-3101 or 866-811-4111.


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