Sunday, December 30, 2007

Candy Clarinet Merry Christmas From Pete Fountain - Coral Records

Candy Clarinet Merry Christmas From Pete Fountain

1960 - Coral Records CRL 757487 Stereo / CRL 57487 Mono

Side 1
1. The Christmas Song
2. Santa Claus Medley
3. Winter Wonderland
4. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
5. Blue Christmas
6. Candy Clarinet

Side 2
1. Jingle Bell Rock
2. I'll Be Home For Christmas
3. The Little Drummer Boy
4. Silver Bells
5. White Christmas
6. Christmas Is A-Comin' (May God Bless You)

Liner Notes:

"Candy Clarinet" Merry Christmas for Pete Fountain.

Candy Clarinet?
Well. there is a time of year, isn't there, when the demand for licorice sticks appreciably declines and sales graphs of candy walking canes zoom madly upwards?

Everyone knows when that is. So, in anticipation of December 25th, here is Pete Fountain's clarinet, candy-striped, holiday delivered and Christmas-wrapped, to brighten up the festivities in New Orleans style.

Pete came up with a joyful program of Christmas favorites - all the big ones like Jingle Bells, Silver Bells, White Christmas, The Christmas Song, and Santa Claus is coming to Town, and added some that are less familiar, but good, including an original authored by "Bud" Dant and himself. It's titled if you've not guessed, is 'Candy Clarinet!

The numbers, in fact, seem to cover every possible eventuality in a swinging holiday season. They announce that both Santa Claus and Christmas are coming, and they bring on the sound of the little drummer boy, not to mention two kinds of bells. Songwrites Sammy Cahn and Jules Styne having expressed a popular sentiment in Let It Snow! Let It Snow!, it is hardly surprising that a Winter Wonderland and a White Christmas should result. But how about Blue Christmas? Be not concerned. Just wait until you hear how that candy-stiped clarinet fixes it. Then there ia the assurance that I'll Be Home For Christmas, which really finds it's complement in The Christmas Song by Mel Torme and Rubert Wells, the sub-title of which is Merry Christmas To You.

The collection is another example of Pete Fountain's versatility. His familiar sound and phrasing are very audibly here, but they are flexibly adapted to fit a new need and a new situation. In the public imagination, the jazz musician is perhaps not exactly the type expected the jolly chores of Santa Claus, yet his charitable instincts are probably as well developed as those of any other member of society. Certainly, there is no questioning the good will expressed through his Candy Clarinet.

It is that instrument, needless to say, which leads the revels. Pete has always had a special gift for providing good cheer, whether it is in New Orleans, Nashville, Los Angeles, or the Winter Wonderland, and here he really shines. On most tracks, too, he is superbly supported by an outstanding vocal group, which brings new zest and know-how to some of the more time-honored selections. And always underneath there is an expert rhythm section, giving performances impetus and a beat - and, in one case, a rock!

This is music made for a happy time. It is music to accompany the feasting and gift giving. It is music to relax to after the children have gone, exhausted, to bed, It is music to dance to after all the day's joyous duties are done. And what it keeps repeating in many different ways, but very clearly is:

Merry Christmas for Pete Fountain.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Dixieland Jamboree - Santo Pecora and His Dixieland Band - Verve Records

Dixieland Jamboree
Santo Pecora and His Dixieland Band
featuring Pete Fountain
Lu Watters and His Yerba Buena Jass Band

1955 Verve Records MG V-1008

Side One:
Santo Pecora and His Dixieland Band
1. Rose Of The Rio Grande
2. Basin Street Blues
3. Twelfth St. Rag
4. Canal Street Romp
5. March Of The Mardi Gras
6. Mahogany Hall Stomp
7. Listen
8. My Lou'siana
9. Maple Leaf Rag

Side Two:
Lu Watters and His Yerba Buena Jass Band
1. Ostrich Walk
2. Chanticleer
3. Down Home Rag
4. Doing The Hambone
5. Aunt Hagar's Blues
6. High Society
7. Muskrat Ramble
8. Bees Knees

Liner Notes:

Santo Pecora and His Dixieland Band

Personnel on:
March Of The Mardi Gras
My Lou'siana
Mahogany Hall Stomp
Recorded In New Orleans, LA, June, 1950.

George Girard (trumpet)
Santo Pecora (trombone)
Pete Fountain (clarinet)
Armand Hug (piano)
John Sense (bass and tuba)
Santo Pecoraro (drums)

Personnel on:
Canal Street Romp
Basin Street Blues
12th Street Rag
Rose Of The Rio Grande
Recorded In New Orleans, LA, 1950.

George Girard (trumpet)
Santo Pecora (trombone)
Pete Fountain (clarinet)
Fred Laudeman (piano)
Lou Massenter (bass)
Eddie Grady (drums)

Lu Watters and His Yerba Buena Jass Band

Lu Watters (trumpet)
Don Noakes (trombone)
Bob Helm (clarinet)
Wally Rose (piano)
Pat Patton (banjo)
Clancy Hayes (banjo and vocals)
Dick Lammi (bass and tuba)
Bill Dart (drums)

Recorded at "Hambone Kelly's", El Cerrito, CA, December 7, 1949

Cover design by David Stone Martin

Dixieland Jamboree

Here is an interesting contrast of Dixieland jazz styles - the one, Santo Pecora's, coming direct from the spawning place of jazz, New Orleans; the other, Lu Watters', stemming from the site of the latter-day Dixieland revival, San Francisco (a city which, incidentally, has always looked with particular fondness on the treasures of the past. The sociologists can make of it what they will, but it is a fact that New Orleans and San Francisco are beyond a doubt the most colorful cities in the United States and it is these two cities that have contributed so much to Dixieland jazz, past and present).

Santo Pecora and His Dixieland Band

The first half is devoted to SANTO PECORA (nee Pecoraro) the trombone master who stirred so much excitement and awe along the clubs of New Orleans' Bourbon St. Originally Pecora, who was born March 31, 1902, in New Orleans, was a student of the French horn but turned later to the trombone, this being clearly an instrument of more value in Dixieland jazz. Pecora first came to prominence when he was featured with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings in the mid-1920s and still later he toured with a number of dance bands and appeared in motion pictures from time to time. By 1942 Pecora was ready to return home to New Orleans and he has remained there, off and on, ever since. He is known best from his big-toned, driving trombone in the old "tail-gate" tradition. He is heard here in three Pecora originals, standard pop tunes and some Dixieland traditionals.

Lu Watters and His Yerba Buena Jass Band

LU WATTERS, nine years younger than Santo Pecora, has since retired at least temporarily from the music field but it was he who almost single-handedly spurred the Dixieland rebirth in San Francisco in 1940. Before this, Watters, who was born Dec. 19, 1911, at Santa Cruz, Calif., and first turned to the bugle at St. Joseph's Military Academy. He attended the University of San Francisco on a music scholarship and toured around the Far West and also, as a shipboard musician, on a slow boat to China and back. The Yerba Buena Jass Band - Yerba Buena being an island in the Bay and a symbol of the past since it was, San Francisco's first name - came next. Curiously since it was, after all, a jazz form recreated far from the place and time and circumstances of the original, there was nothing at all "dated" or stale in the Lu Watters music; a traditional form had been extended and done so with enormous vigor and a contagious spirit that is evident in this album.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Bourbon St. Magic - Mardi Gras Records

Bourbon St. Magic

2005 Mardi Gras Records Inc MG 1097

CD Listing
1. Way Down Yonder in New Orleans
2. Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans
3. Avalon
4. Just A Closer Walk With Thee
5. Lazy River
6. Just One Of Those Things
7. Stranger On The Shore
8. Basin Street Blues
9. Pete's Medley

Liner Notes:

Leader and Clarinet: Pete Fountain
Vibes: Godfrey Hirsch
Piano: John Probst
Guitar: Paul Guma
Bass: Oliver "Stick" Felix
Drums: Paul Edwards

Bourbon St. Magic

Pete Fountain, Alive In New Orleans - Laserlight Delta Music Records

Pete Fountain
Alive In New Orleans

1998 Laserlight 17 181 Delta Music Records

CD Listing
1. Jazz Me Blue
2. Stranger On The Shore
3. Little Girl
4. When Your Lover Has Gone
5. Struttin' With Some Barbeque.
6. Georgia On My Mind
7. Diane
8. Margie
9. Indiana

Liner Notes:

Pete Fountain, Clarinet
Eddie Miller, Tenor Sax
Jack Delaney, Trombone
Jim Duggan, Trombone
Mike Serpas, Trumpet
Earl VuIovich, Piano
Oliver Felix, Bass
Charlie Lodice, Drums

Recorded At Studio In The Country, Bogalusa, Louisiana.
Produced By Pete Fountain And Bill Evans.
Engineered By Bill Evans.

Note: Same as LP 1977 First American Records FA-7706 Alive In New Orleans and LP 1977 First American Records FA-7706 Stereo

The clarinet is a musical magic wand all black and silver, sleek and elegant, emitting a round sound that has pleased the ears from the time of Egyptians to Mozart to modern New Orleans style music. The New Orleans clarinet style has been an influence in jazz and popular music since the earliest days of marching bands and jazz groups. George Gershwin recognized the spellbinding power of the clarinet when he gave it the opening lines of "Rhapsody in Blue," one of America's finest pieces of music. The clarinet is two instruments in one. The lower register, known as the chalumeau, yields the warm, deep tone, whereas the upper register emits the shrilling, high notes that are very exciting and very "Dixie" in jazz.

Pete Fountain hails from the heart of Dixieland, New Orleans. He was born in the French Quarter in 1930 and it was there that he learned to play the music he loves. He learned to play the clarinet from his father who could play almost any musical instrument by ear, especially the fiddle. As unlikely as it may sound, Pete had serious lung problems when he was young and he also had a keen interest in music by the age of nine. Because of his many medical bills it wasn't possible for his father to purchase a musical instrument for him until the day a doctor prescribed that a musical instrument be bought and that Pete be made to play so that his lungs would become strong. That was a happy day for Pete Fountain. After a few lessons in school and hours of listening to the records of Benny Goodman he was on his way to becoming a jazz musician and a great improvisor, even though his teachers didn't appreciate his improvisations.

In 1950 he formed "The Basin Street Six," a strictly Dixie jazz band. Unfortunately, Dixie was not popular in 1950, dance music was, so the band had to concede to play a little dance music to keep their job. As fate would have it, a representative from a television station heard the show and wanted the band to play Dixie, as he thought it should be revived and telecast live from the restaurant. It caught on and band's success convinced Fountain that he could make a living from his music.

The biggest break in his career came after a particularly fallow period in 1956 when Lawrence Welk called and asked him to make a guest appearance on the biggest musical show in television history. This invitation changed the course of Fountain's life. After a few years of being a Hollywood television star, his homesickness for New Orleans overwhelmed him and he quit the Lawrence Welk show to return to the heartland of his music and the source of his inspiration.

Back in New Orleans he founded a hot spot called French Quarter Inn in the Spring of 196o where people gathered, with reservations booked far in advance, to hear Pete Fountain's band really cook. So crank up the Victrola and take a walk down Bourbon Street to the tunes of Pete Fountain!


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dixieland From New Orleans: The Basin Street Six - Circle Sound Records

Dixieland From New Orleans
The Basin Street Six

1950 Circle Sound Records L-403 (10" LP)

Side A:
1. South Rampart Street Parade
2. High Society
3. Margie
4. That's a Plenty

Side B:
1. Jazz Me Blues
2. Lazy River
3. I Am Going Home
4. Farewell Blues

Liner Notes:

As played in the capitol city of jazz by the Basin Street Six

George Girard (trumpet)
Pete Fountain (clarinet, #4 tenor sax)
Joe Rotis (trombone)
Roy Zimmerman (piano)
Bunny Franks (string bass)
Charlie Duke (drums)

Recorded in New Orleans 1950

Dixieland From New Orleans? Naturally. That's where it began back at a time when today's old men were kids in short pants. That's where it first flowed out over the country just before World War I. And that's where most of the best Dixie-land is still coming from. This present record will prove it.

This present record, too, combines the Dixieland of that earlier time with that of the present. It does this through the blend of its personnel. Youths blow the horns of the front line; wise, experienced veterans, with that authentic, old-time beat in their veins, man the rhythm instruments. The Basin Street Six, as the musicians' magazine Down Beat points out, is "strictly a New Orleans born and bred outfit."

Heading the front line is a phenomenal twenty-year old trumpeter and vocalist, George Girard. He leads with his horn, as a Dixieland trumpet must do. With faultless musicianship, Girard's driving style reminds old-timers of the late Paul Mares' commanding horn, while his flow of fresh ideas stamps his playing with a trademark that reads, "Girard, 1950."

Backing George is another youthful phenomenon, the nineteen-year-old clarinetist, Pete Fountain, protege of that unique styled New Orleans "black stick" man, the late Irving Fazola. Pete doubles on a tenor sax, too, that is competently grounded on the style of that New Orleans paragon, Eddie Miller. Fountain's technique and assurance match Girard's and his personal musical ideas pay homage to sound tradition while adding a great deal that is new and his own. George Hoefer, Chicago jazz critic, calls Girard and Fountain "two promising young musicians destined to take their place alongside the New Orleans greats."

Trombonist Joe Rotis completes the horn section with plenty of that timeless parade style known as tailgate. Look for the measure of his taste in the meaningful sparseness of his notes, in the angular, decisive flow of his countermelodic line. Joe knows that the masculine trombone should not talk too much, should make every word count.

Back of all this put a dream rhythm section of men from the town where rhythm was born and who were there when the blessed event was taking place. Bunny Frank's bass is pungent punctuation personified; Roy Zimmerman's piano is that good old, timeless, irreplaceable ragtime; and there are more good-humor, punch and real honest-to-goodness zest in Charlie Duke's drumming than you can find in the whole present hide-beating generation put together.

So it's no wonder that the Basin Street Six and their new-old Dixieland are riding high on the wave of the new Dixieland boom; that they have already conquered Chicago and that their New Orleans following is virtually synonymous with that city's 1950 census figures; that they are already a top national radio attraction; and that they have just started "going places."

Class will tell. Class brought Dixieland back with a bang to a public weary of music without melody, music without honest, unashamed feeling. Dixieland is coming back home into the heart of the people. And class puts the Basin Street boys at the head of that syncopated, homeward wending parade.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Santo And His New Orleans Rhythm Kings - Southland Records

Santo And His New Orleans Rhythm Kings

1954 Southland Records S-LP 213 Stereo / LP-213 Mono

Side One:
1. Saints Come Marching In
2. Fidgety Feet
3. Bucket Has A Hole In It
4. Some Day You Be Sorry

Side Two:
1. Bourbon Street Parade
2. Bill Bailey Come Home
3. Rose Room
4. Breeze

Liner Notes:

Santo Pecora - Trombone
Lester Bouchon - Bass Sax - Clarinet
Harry Shields - Clarinet
Thomas Jefferson - Trumpet
Roy Zimmerman - Piano
Johnny Edwards - Drums
Phil Darois - String Bass
Jo Linn - Vocal

If ever an LP needed no notes, this is it - because it's the kind of great New Orleans jazz that needs no explaining. But a few words appear to be in order to explain why a musician of the stature of Santo doesn't, for example, ever win the Downbeat award. It doesn't take a critical expert to separate the rich, full trombone tone in these sides from the swamp of hurried mosquito buzzings currently endorsed by the more widely circulated music publications. Great actors don't win the Photoplay award, either. The fact is, that Santo Pecora plays JAZZ, not the sick little rhapsodies the modern reviewer gives 5 stars today and can't remember the name of tomorrow, but living, beating jazz.

The sound of Santo as he recorded in 1925 with Paul Mares and the New Orleans Rhythm Kings had its impact on the music world - but right here in this jacket is the full flowering of Mr. Tailgate. This is the sound of Jazz, to get your feet 'a marching and charge up your batteries. You'll not hear the self-pitying whinnies critics excuse by calling them "modern", "experimental", "progressive". This is the clear, forthright musical statement of one of the titans of jazz, recorded with intelligence and under-standing by Joe Mares, and played by superior JAZZ musicians.

The superb pair of clarinets offer enough contrast to demonstrate the enormous range of interpretation possible within the idiom of real jazz. Harry Shields on side 1, (note the impeccable ensemble work on "Fidgety Feet" and the solo on "Saints") more than lives up to the superlatives heaped on his horn by European jazz papers. Lester Bouchon on side 2 plays with a thoroughly satisfying "indoor" sound. But it's the same Lester, recording his bass sax for the first time on records, that gives you some-thing new and modern and still makes musical sense. His treatment of "Bucket's Got a Hole In It" is unique in recorded Jazz. And his bass sax solos on Saints and Fidgety Feet are masterpieces. The same "Bucket" is a showcase displaying the clean cut talent of young Thomas Jefferson who brings back to New Orleans jazz its singing voice for this one. It's a fresh voice, reminiscent of the Armstrong of the late twenties. Jefferson's street-parade trained trumpet is muted for a fine solo, here.

It's comforting to hear a rhythm section that knows what it is. Drummer Johnny Edwards maintains a beat! He tosses no petulant bombs in the middle of a jazzman's solo and sets up no distracting clatter of cymbals to bestir morons to shrill screams of "Go! Go! Go!"

Phil Darois is a true jazz brass man who plays his instrument with studio perfection, but does not become mechanical. Roy Zimmerman, of course, is one of the. leading lights of the New Orleans jazz scene, bringing a feeling of flashing excitement to each solo and blending back to ensemble-stimulating chords when called for.

It's not easy for a young lady to sing with a real New Orleans jazz band. Especially, a young lady who's only been in this country a few years. But young Jo Linn, of the British Isles, in her four vocals on this LP, blends naturally with this great band. That's because she. hasn't merely been added to the record to satisfy some assumed need for vocals - but because she just happens to he Santo's regular band vocalist who works on the job nightly and has a big following among the cash customers.

Santo comes up with a jazz bonanza. Because it's jazz, it is played with the required instruments. It seems not to need a bank of fiddles, other stringed contraptions that are useless where there's no 110 Volt AC outlet available. The trumpet is not bent amidships to point its bell skyward.

The results of this recording session is jazz which is thoroughly in the grand old New Orleans tradition. There's a remarkable amount of fine dixieland jazz on this long-playing record - and it's all New Orleans.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Louisiana .... A Dream State - VRP Records

Louisiana .... A Dream State

1983 VRP Records VRP-LP-1676

Tourism album from the Louisiana Office of Tourism. Message from the Governor of the State of Louisiana, David C. Treen, (Republican 1980 - 1984): "I sincerely hope you enjoy this small sample of Louisiana music and accept my personal invitation to visit our dream state, where music is a way of life."

1. Comin' Around the Mountain/Cotton Eyed Joe (The Hayriders)
The Louisiana Hayride plays host to a celebration in Shreveport every Saturday night. It has served as 'Cradle of the Stars' to the likes of Elvis Presley and Hank Williams, as well as Roscoe Horton, whose arrangement and stellar piano playing highlight this selection.
(Recorded live in Shreveport 7/24/81 by David Kent)

2. Indian on a Stomp (The Balfa Brothers)
Firmly ensconced in the 175 year old tradition of Cajun music in southwest Louisiana, the Balfas are definitive of the genre. This rousing rendition is a derivative of their origins on Bayou Grand Louis in Evangeline Parish.
(Swallow Records LP6009)

3. You Are My Sunshine (Governor Jimmie Davis)
This former two-term governor garnered his fame both through politics and the music industry. A popular figure in gospel and country music for decades, Jimmie Davis will always be remembered for this Louisiana standard which he composed.
(Canaan Records, CAS98666)

4. Nonc Heclaire (Clifton Chenier)
Clifton Chenier is the undisputed king of zydeco, an accordion-based music made popular by French speaking blacks. He and his "Red Hot Louisiana Band" from Opelousas, Louisiana have two-stepped several times around the globe, picking up grammy nominations along the way.
(Masion de Soul Records, LP1003)

5. Boil Them Cabbage Down (The North Louisiana String Band)
These exemplary fiddlers, stars of the Natchitoches Folk Festival, exhibit Bluegrass at its best. This hearty recording comes to us from Troy 's Old Barn in Boyce, Louisiana.
(Louisiana Folklife Center Recordings #37882)

6. Crying In Your Sleep (Candee Greene)
This twenty-year old "Singing Sweetheart" from Ruston, Louisiana recorded this irresistible country piece in a small home studio, yet the production is as brilliant as Candee's performance.
(LOM-BAR Records, VRRNP-588)

7. Louisiana: A Dream State (A. J. Loria)
This recording marks the debut of the new Louisiana state theme song by a popular young native artist, who has won much acclaim for his musical tributes to New Orleans and its Mardi Gras.
(Produced by Tore Wallin and A. J. Loria at Ultrasonic Studios, New Orleans)

1. Java (Al Hirt)
Little or no introduction is necessary for the world famous trumpeter who made Allen Toussant's melody an international favorite. New Orleans is home for this giant of jazz, as he performs regularly in the Bourbon Street club that bears his name.
(RCA Records, LSP3309, 1965)

2. Recitation from 'Tishomingo Blues' (Danny Barker)
Danny Barker's legendary banjo and guitar picking is still going strong in New Orleans clubs. His unique style is reminiscent of Storyville, the old red light district of New Orleans.
(Bethlehem Records, BCP6047, 1959)

3. Paul Barbarin's Second Line (Onward Brass Band)
The old jazz funeral has always included an element of celebration, as does any kind of parade or procession in New Orleans. The Onward Brass Band is a traditional marching unit with its roots in this kind of processional music. The listener should note its unique syncopation, known as the "second line" beat.
(Viko Records, VIKO 2001 1)

4. Trick Bag (Luther Kent)
This composition by rhythm and blues great Earl King is here performed by the big blues voice from Baton Rouge. Luther's all-star band includes such noted musicians as Ron "Tubby" Ziegler, Harold Cowart, and the Brecker Brothers.
(Record Company of the South, RCA A1002)

5. Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Betty Ann Lastie)
The Lastie family, including brother David and late greats Melvin and Walter, is a musical heritage unto itself. Here Betty Ann brings it home - straight from the heart of the Crescent City.
(Shalom Records, SHALOM2734)

6. Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans (Pete Fountain)
From Lawrence Welk to the Johnny Carson show this renowned clarinetist has won hearts all over the world with his spellbinding performances. Pete knows what it means to miss New Orleans, so he stays here as much as possible - playing in his world famous night club.
(Coral Records CRL 757507)

7. New Orleans - Yes, I Love Her (Ronnie Kole)
This artist/producer has toured the world from Carnegie Hall to Cathay He's appeared on every major TV show selling the city and state he loves with his spectacular performances.
(Record at Thee Studio, Slidell, arrangement by Wardell Quezergue)

- Produced by A. J. Loria and Coleman-Robertson, Inc. for the Louisiana Office of Tourism.
- Executive Producer: Ronnie Kole
- Recorded at Thee Studio, Slidell, LA
- Engineer Robert Kearney
- Coleman-Robertson, Inc. Louisiana Office of Tourism
- The Office of Tourism wishes to thank the artists, producers, and songwriters for their contributions in making this album a priceless gift.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Basin Street Six - EmArcy Records

Basin Street Six

1955 EmArcy Records MG-26012 (10 inch LP)
Reissue of 1951 Mercury MG 25111

Side A:
1. Farewell Blues
2. When It's Sleepy Time Down South
3. Muskrat Ramble
4. Margie

Side B:
1. Basin Street Stomp
2. Lazy River (liner notes have Last Night On The Back Porch listed instead of Lazy River)
3. Tin Roof Blues
4. That's A Plenty

Liner Notes:

George Girard (trumpet,vocals)
Joe Rotis (trombone)
Pete Fountain (clarinet)
Roy Zimmerman (piano)
Bunny Franks (bass)
Charlie Duke (drums)

Recorded in New Orleans, September 19, 1951. EmArcy Records is a division of Mercury Records.

Here is a Dixieland Jazz concert direct from the cradle of jazz. It is in the style Wingy Manone calls "the New Orleans drop". The traditional front line consists of 21-year-old George Girard, trumpet; 20 year old Pete Fountain, clarinet; and 30-year-old Joe Rotis, trombone. This trio is dynamite on individual solos as well as on driving ensembles. Backing them up, we have a typical Crescent City rhythm unit, consisting of Roy Zimmerman's incisive piano that knocks off a fine ragtime solo at times, Charlie Duke's drumming, and Bunny Frank's firm string bass. This sextet from famed Basin Street is more than a mere carrying-on of a tradition during the current Dixieland revival. They are a reincarnation of one of the first great jazz bands in American music.

Thirty years ago a jazz band made up of young New Orleans musicians opened at Mike Fritzel's Friar's Inn in Chicago. They were known as the New Orleans Rhythm Kings and destined to considerably influence American dance music. Their creativeness and lack of musical inhibitions made the Friar's a music classroom for Chicago musicians. Many lessons were taken by the jazz immortal Bix Beiderbecke and his pal Hoagy Carmichael. Benny Goodman in his short pants assiduously studied the Rhythm King recordings made for the old Gennett record company. These same discs. are today valuable collector's items demanding high premium prices.

History has repeated itself, for the new generation group, THE BASIN STREET SIX, have also come up the Mississippi and captured the hearts of Chicago crowds at both Jazz, Ltd., and the Blue Note. Their hearty ensembles and striking soloists are reminiscent of the atmosphere that used to prevail when Al Jolson, Isham Jones, Al Capone, and a little chorus girl named Joan Crawford used to bounce as they. listened to the New Orleans Rhythm Kings.

The personnel of both bands is predominantly made up of fun-loving youngsters full of the "hokum" traditional among New Orleans musicians. While the Rhythm Kings used to put mustard plaster on each others seats on the stand, the Basin Street Boys have channeled their excess energy into comedy acts that have proven highly entertaining to their audiences. This buoyant spirit comes through on these lively sides. The excellent solo work by Girard and Fountain is similar and reminds jazz students of their Rhythm King counterparts Paul Mares, trumpet, .and Leon Rappolo, clarinet, both now passed away. Trombonist Joe Rotis not only looks like George Brunis of the earlier band but plays like him in New Orleans tailgate style.

Similarities between the two bands continue in the tunes played. Three of the most famous N.O.R.K. recordings were of the tunes Tin Roof Blues, That's A Plenty, and Farewell Blues. Here The Basin Streeters give these a going over in modern Dixie style. Pete Fountain does the fine clarinet work on Tin Roof and rivals the classic Rappolo's clarinet made of the number. Girard drives through on That's A Plenty in a like manner to the way Paul Mares did thirty years ago. Farewell Blues, now a standard number, was written by the boys in the early Rhythm King band. The Basin Street group play this tune beautifully and also do one of their own originals, Basin Street Stomp, a side that has tremendous power.

Completing the Dixieland Jazz concert herein packaged are a rousing version of Muskrat Ramble, a tantalizing Margie featuring George Girard's vocal, and a sprightly novelty run-down of the old tune Last Night On The Back Porch, with choir vocal, and finally a beautiful trumpet interpretation of Louis Armstrong's old theme song, When It's Sleepy Time Down South.

We feel this Dixieland session will go down in American music annals alongside the old N.O.R.K. Gennetts as living proof of the undying musical worthiness of pure New Orleans jazz.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Al Hirt's Jazz Band Ball - Verve Records

Al Hirt's Jazz Band Ball
featuring Pete Fountain

1957 Verve Records V-1012 Mono

Side 1:
1. Washington And Lee Swing
2. I'm Goin' Home
3. Jazz Me Blues
4. Night and Day
5. South Rampart Street Parade
6. Sugar (That Sugar Baby O' Mine)

Side 2:
1. Tin Roof Blues
2. Royal Garden Blues
3. Panama
4. Blue (And Broken-Hearted)
5. The Original Dixieland One Step
6. Wolverine Blues

Liner Notes:

Al Hirt's Jazz Band Ball: Swinging Dixie from Dan's Pier 600 - New Orleans

Al Hirt trumpet
Bob Havens trombone
Roy Zimmerman piano
Pete Fountain clarinet
Bob Coquille bass
Paul Edwards drums

Photos by de Sylva-Dyer
Cover Artist, David Stone Martin
Art Director, Sheldon Marks

This LP was reissued in 1961 on Verve MGV 1028 by Al Hirt entitled "Blockbustin' Dixie!, then release 1965 on Metro (MGM) Records MS-517 Stereo / M-517 Mono again by Al Hirt entitled "Al Hirt"

If you're "up to here; satiated, weary of the dreary, same old tired phrases and "traditional solos" so prevalent in much of the Dixieland music one is accustomed to hearing - then this album is for you. Dan's Pier 600 is the furthermost club featuring dixieland music that one reaches when strolling from Canal Street along Bourbon Street, deep into the French Quarter of New Orleans. And as in the case of the builder of the better mouse-trap, whose wares were to he found deep in the woods, an ever-increasing host of fans of AI Hirt and his Band are beating a path to the door of Pier 600 - at 600 Bourbon Street.

First of all, this band swings - and swings hard, when the tempo and mood call for it; but at the same time there is a refreshing change in dynamics from time to time that reflects imagination and well- rehearsed head arrangements for ensemble passages that set it apart as not just another Dixieland band. Their "blues" renditions seem to tell a new story, too, as they should, of course - no two people having exactly the same backgrounds, loves, trials and tribulations; and what are the blues but a musical expression of one's thoughts on those subjects? Listen to Pete Fountain's infinitely beautiful solo on "Tin Roof Blues"; the next night it would be a little different, for one is a day older, new thoughts have shaded the
feelings to be expressed.

Al Hirt, leader and trumpet, has been well dubbed "The Gabriel of the South:' His technique and stamina are showcased on "Night and Day;" and the big man's sense of humor crops up frequently in half-valve emissions, trumpet and drum "chases" (as in "South Rampart Street Parade") and in some of the startling key changes, ensemble-wise, which are the result of his arranging.

Trombonist Bob Havens hails from Quincy, Illinois - and left Ralph Flanagan's dance band in the spring of 1956 when the urge to play Dixieland became too strong to resist. His fine, big tone is in evidence throughout the album; but it is given the lion's share of the solo work on "Blue (and broken-hearted):' The only other member of the band who is not a native New Orleanian is drummer Paul Edwards, who comes from Ohio. Bob and Paul both played in the band of the late George Girard until the latter's ill-health forced him to disband. Edwards' rock-steady beat and uncanny intuition regarding the whims of the other members of the aggregation help to make him a valuable member of the rhythm section. The same goes for bassist Bob Coquille who listens, augments, and provides good tone with his beat... (usually in 4/4, by the way - another refreshing innovation in contrast with some dixieland bands.) Coquille was also a member of the Girard band before joining Al Hirt.

Roy Zimmerman at the piano gives evidence of his healthy respect for such jazz greats as Jess Stacy and the late Bob Zurke. His St. Bernard like appearance and complete relaxation off the stand be-lie his concentration when at the piano driving, backing, plugging any holes that need filling.

One last word about Pete Fountain, whose tone on tenor sax on "Washington & Lee Swing" shows a becoming influence by a former New Orleanian, Eddie Miller. It was a stroke of luck that the wonderful rapport existing between these six men was finally recorded for the first time (other than on. their weekly broadcasts taped for CBS Radio and New Orleans affiliate WWL) - for less than a week after these sides were cut Pete left the group to accept a key chair with Lawrence Welk, who planned to build a Dixieland contingent around Pete as a special feature with his regular orchestra. Well, Irving Fazola eventually found the lure of his native New Orleans too strong to resist - and perhaps, like "Faz", Pete will return in time to "Pier 600", where tycoons, conventioneers, airline personnel, show-people and (the highest compliment) musicians from all types of bands, return again and again to hear a real "Jazz Band BALL!"


I've Got You Under My Skin (EP) - Coral Records

I've Got You Under My Skin

Jukebox inserts

1966 Coral Records CRL 798149 Stereo
7" 33 1/3 RPM Jukebox EP
All tracks form the Coral Album CRL 757488

Side A:
1. I've Got You Under My Skin
2. Born Free
3. Mame

Side B:
1. The Old French Quarter
2. Hanky Panky
3. My Blue Heaven

Liner Notes:

I've Got You Under My Skin
Clarinet Solos With Orchestra
Directed By CHARLES "Bud" Dant
Pete Fountain plays a Leblanc clarinet exclusively

Pete Fountain (clarinet)
Stan Wrightsman (piano)
Godfrey Hirsch (vibes)
Morty Corb (bass)
Jack Sperling (drums)

This record has the same cover slick as the LP, but in 7" format used in jukeboxes. The back cover is blank, the cover has the same Coral LP number as the LP, yet the actual record has the EP catalog number.

These songs are from the Coral Album CRL 757488, Pete Fountain returns to the kind of free-swinging small group which made one of his most successful records ever - "Pete Fountain's New Orleans". The accompanists who provide him with such a lively springboard are the formidable, highly professional and eminently sympathetic trio of Stan Wrightsman (piano), Morty Corb (bass) and Jack Sperling (drums). Pete's regular vibist, Godfrey Hirsch, lends a helping hand - and mallets - from time to time. The program includes a number of recent successes, and in some instances they are set to an appropriately contemporary beat.

Most of the recordings were made during Pete's second very successful engagement in Las Vegas, where he played at The Tropicana and used Jack Sperling as an added attraction for solos and specialities. (the other were Nashville recordings) The Vegas days seldom being so fully occupied as the nights, it occurred to producer Bud Dant that this was an ideal opportunity to record Pete under conditions which were simultaneously relaxed and stimulating.

I've Got You Under My Skin, the opener, is a great song at any time, but this version was partially inspired by the success and beat of the hit record by The Four Seasons. A Nashville recording, this brings the chorus to the foreground with words and melody in the second chorus.

Mame, is another hit by Jerry Herman, the composer of "Hello, Dolly!" The lyrics are concerned with New Orleans and the tune seems to suit Pete even better than "Dolly".

Born Free, the pretty theme of the movie of that name, is prettily played with a contemporary beat and pleasing use of Godfrey Hirsch's vibes.

The Old French Quarter which opens the second side, was also made in Nashville. It is a blues-oriented number which seeks to recapture the party atmosphere of "Pete's Place", the clarinetist's popular club in New Orleans. The performance is graphically realistic at times, even down to the sound of people talking when they ought to be listening!

Hanky Panky returns us to Vegas. Like so many other rock hits, this is the blues, and the blues are Pete's meat, as he rapidly makes clear.

My Blue Heaven, immediately proves this to have been a good idea, for it is surely one of the most happily realized performances in the clarinetist's extensive recorded career. Walter Donaldson's beautiful song was due for a revival, and this seems to be the interpretation likely to bring it about. The group answers Pete's theme statements before he goes into a swinging full chorus; the piano has the spotlight for sixteen bars; bass and drums duet for the rest of the chorus; the ensemble returns and they take it out in the manner established at the beginning. It is simple in outline, but extremely effective the way they play it.

Except for the Nashville recordings, which were planned and arranged by Bud Dant, all of these performances were made from "head" or oral arrangements, to which each of the men contributed what he did best. It is in this kind of context and with this kind of freedom that Pete Fountain's imagination flourishes. The result is music that will get under your skin.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Jack Delaney And His New Orleans Jazz Babies - Tempo Records

Jack Delaney And His New Orleans Jazz Babies
featuring Pete Fountain

1959 Tempo Records EXA-100 7" EP (UK Import)

Side One:
1. Shine
2. Sidewalks Of New York

Side Two:
1. Hindustant
2. Till We Meet Again

Liner Notes:

Jack Delaney And His New Orleans Jazz Babies

Alvin Alcorn (Trumpet)
Jack Delaney (Trombone,Vocal)
Pete Fountain (Clarinet)
Roy Zimmerman (Piano)
Chink Martin (Bass)
Joe Capraro (Guitar)
Monk Hazel (Drums, Mellophone)

Recorded : New Orleans, September 13th, 1955

Jack Michael Delaney has been playing professionally now for at least ten years; and he has been playing in good company too. Born in New Orleans, on August 27th, 1930, he had a normally gay childhood with the usual schooling which was completed by studies at the Southeastern Louisiana College. Then, after he had finished college, he joined the Johnny Reininger aggregation with which he played, full-time, from 1949 to 1951 when he left for a better job. In fact, it was to play with Sharkey Bonano from whom he learned a great deal about Dixieland - New Orleans jazz. However, in 1953, he joined Tony Almerico with whom he spent one year before going back to play with Bonano once more. It was around this time that Jack also became a staff musician at Station WDSU — TV, in New Orleans, where he increased still further his knowledge and experience of jazz and jazzmen. Always wishing to emulate his favourite instrumentalist, Jack Teagarden, he played many good sessions, both on and off record, with groups featuring such musicians as George Girard, Raymond Burke, Tony Almerico, Sharkey Bonano and Johnny Reininger. He has also earned considerable praise for his backings to such singers as Lizzie Miles and Eileen Barton and, though he is not yet thirty he may well be considered one of the leading white New Orleans musicians.

Unfortunately, the South still maintains its colour bar and it is therefore not too easy for mixed bands to exist, even in New Orleans. As a result of this, the two predominant races tend to play separately and it does, on occasion, become necessary to say whether a man is white or coloured, when assessing his position in this music. So one is pleased to hear a negro, Alvin Alcorn, playing on this session; especially a New Orleans musician of Alcorn's status. Although some 6 years with Kid Ory, on the West Coast, did much to modify his style, there is still the sharp lead sound of the New Orleans trumpet player. It is more `virtuoso' in flavour - more like Louis Armstrong - than is generally required of pure New Orleans jazz, but it still flows strong from this 47-year-old horn man who is joined here by two more old-time New Orleanians. Monk Hazel, now 56, was working with Abbie Brunies in 1924/5 and, in fact, with Emmett Hardy in 1920, is an experienced jazzman who recorded with Tony Parenti as far back as 1925. And the other old-timer is Chink Martin who is renowned for flunking his AFM sight reading test in Chicago in the Twenties. Asked to play the music, which he had carefully learned by heart, at the test, Chink solemnly played through four bars of tacet, and swore blind that what he was playing was all written down. However, as he was always a good bass player he still found work and it is pleasant to hear him on this session.

All in all, this mixture of young and old works out pretty well so listen and enjoy yourselves.

Jack Baker © 1959 by Tempo Records, London.

Live At The Wolf Trap - Aug 1979

Pete Fountain & Al Hirt
Live At The Wolf_Trap - August 1979

1979 Hollywood Records (bootleg)

CD One Pete Fountain

1. Clarinet Marmalade
2. Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans
3. High Society
4. Closer Walk With Thee
5. Runnin' Wild
6. Summer Wind
7. Dialogue Intro
8. Honky Tonk
9. Wolverine Blues

CD Two Al Hirt

1.Begin the Beguine
2.Birth of the Blues
3.Tin Roof Blues
4.Short People
5.Send in the Clowns
6.South Rampart Street Parade
7.Trumpet Solos
8.Trumpet Solos 2
9. Poor Butterfly
10. Alley Cat
11. Java

Pete Fountain & Al Hirt
13. Basin Street Blues
14. When The Saints Come Marching

Liner Notes:

Recorded live August 1979. Two CDs, one Pete Fountain, the other Al Hirt. Pete and Al join together for the last two tracks. Great sound quality and Pete is excellent.

Pete Fountain clarinet
Jimmy Weber trumpet
Mike Genevay trombone
Tom Gekler trombone
Jim Duggan trombone
Oliver "Stick" Felix bass
Earl Vuiovich piano
Leroy Dallas guitar
Charlie Lodice drums
Al Hirt trumpet
Pee Wee Spitelera clarinet
Paul Ferrara drums
Joe Prejean trombone

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Phil Zito and his New Orleans International City Dixielanders - Dixieland Express - Columbia Records

PHIL ZITO and his New Orleans International City Dixielanders

1950 Columbia Records Set C-199
10" LP 33 1/3 - 4 Record Box Set

Record One:
Side A:
1. Bob Cats

Side B:
2. Shine

Record Two
Side A:
1. Bye and Bye

Side B:
2. Original Dixieland One Step

Record Three
Side A:
1. She'll Be Comin' 'Round The Mountain

Side B:
2. Zito's Zag

Record Four
Side A:
1. Clarinet Marmalade

Side B:
2. Tulane Swing

Liner Notes:

PHIL ZITO and his New Orleans International City Dixielanders

Recorded in New Orleans

Phil Zito drums
Emile Christian bass
Roy Zimmerman piano
Pete Fountain clarinet
Joe Rotis trombone
George Girard trumpet

The upswing in Dixieland music that began to gather momentum during the last months of 1949 is happily serving a dual purpose. Not only is it introducing this "happy-making" music to generations almost entirely unfamiliar with it and bringing hack fond acquaintance to older enthusiasts, it is bringing recognition to a number of small groups that served faithfully and unceasingly during the Dixieland drought. Many of these groups, playing in nightclubs and theaters around the country, suddenly found that they were not, after all, playing mostly for their own amusement. They found that somehow the lively two-beat of their music had been taken up by a public weary of modernism and wary of over experimentation.

These records introduce such a group: Phil Zito and his New Orleans International City Dixielanders. Long-time favorites of New Orleans citizens, Zito and his organization have been heard at almost every musical event in that fascinating city. They have played in nightclubs, at jazz concerts and battles, at dances, in theaters, in parks and at all sorts of celebrations. Zito's first group, organized in the late Thirties, built up a considerable reputation with local fans, but was disrupted by the war. When Zito returned from the Navy, he again began building up a small combination, emphasizing Dixieland music, and swiftly became one of the leaders of the jazz movement in New Orleans.

As currently constituted, the New Orleans International City Dixielanders consist of comparative old timers in the rhythm section, with representatives of the younger musical generation in other spots. Zito himself is at the drums, Emile Christian plays bass, Roy Zimmerman piano, Pete Fountain clarinet, Joe Rotis trombone and George Girard trumpet. This is a festive outfit in the good old-fashioned New Orleans tradition. They put in plenty of time playing the usual round of engagements, but it is not uncommon to find them whooping it up at the opening of a new factory or spreading their music through the streets of the city to signal the premiere of a new film. If this is not precisely the clientele of the old jazz bands, it is at least the closest equivalent that these less rowdy days permit, and it carries their music directly into the daily existence of the lucky residents.

Eight samples of that vigorous brand are contained in this collection, some of them standard jazz exercises, some of them originals. In them is the happy compromise between high-flying solo work and closely-knit ensemble playing that distinguishes the New Orleans International City Dixielanders. Although their title may be a trifle cumbersome, there is nothing unwieldy about their music. Recorded in New Orleans, it has the special flavor of that city's contribution to popular music, bright, inventive and splendidly uncomplicated.

News for October 2007


Oct. 10 2007 - Pete Fountain Back on His Feet

METAIRIE - Famed New Orleans Pete Fountain musician was back at home this weekend after spending seven days in East Jefferson General Hospital due to a mild stroke. Pete says he's feeling fine after suffering what's called a pin stroke. "I'm all back...all together...both legs, both arms. Now the brain will never be the same...'cause it was never the same before," jokes Fountain.

But like before, the 77-year-old Fountain will be back performing in Bay St. Louis soon. "Oh yeah, not this Tuesday, but the following Tuesday...Tuesday and Wednesday I'll be at the Hollywood Casino. You know, my talking is good...everything is fine, really."

The famed jazz clarinetist was upset that he couldn't attend and perform at the funeral for Sheriff Harry Lee, but had to be taken to the hospital. "I went to sit in my chair and then all of a sudden I couldn't talk," says Fountain.

But now, he's looking forward to performing again and looking forward to next year's Mardi Gras with his Half-Fast Walking Club. "I'll be there, that's for sure," says Pete. "I'll be on my wagon."
Oct. 6 2007 - Pete Fountain Hospitalized

METAIRIE - Jazz Clarinetist Pete Fountain Has Been Admitted to a Suburban New Orleans Hospital for Tests.

Jazz clarinetist Pete Fountain has been admitted to a suburban New Orleans hospital for tests. His son-in-law, Benny Harrell, says Fountain was feeling ill Thursday and that Fountain's doctor admitted him to East Jefferson General Hospital for tests. Harrell declined to describe the nature of Fountain's illness but says he doesn't expect Fountain to be hospitalized long.

Fountain was who was scheduled to perform "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" at the funeral for Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee Friday. Harrell says the 77-year-old Fountain was upset he had to miss Lee's memorial. The two had been friends for decades.

If you leave me a message or post a comment and want a reply, please include your email address. There is no way to reply if you post anonymously. Thanks!


Click here to check out my visit to the Hollywood Casino on Oct 2, 2007 to see Pete perform. It was a really enjoyable show, got to met Pete, chat with him. He played very well, good to see him still "tootin".
Getting near the end of my collection to post. The next batch will be my 10" 33 1/3 collection. I have the original Basin Street Six collections on Mercury, and a couple of Phil Zito's Dixieland Express 10" records on Columbia with Pete on them. I already posted the Tony Almerico 10" and 12" records I have, I have one more 10" to go. They have Pete playing with Tony Almerico and his Dixieland Jamboree All Stars at on Royal Street at the New Orleans' Parisian Room. All vintage early Pete.

I will also be posting some CDs/LPs that Pete appeared on, such as Christmas collections, Jazz LPs, etc.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Pete Fountain - A Closer Walk With Thee - Coral Records

A Closer Walk With Thee

1959 Coral 45 rpm 7" EP CRL ES 4288 Stereo / CRL EC 81188 Mono

Side A:
1. A Closer Walk
2. When The Saints Come Marching In March

Side B:
1. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans
2. When It's Sleepy Time Down South

Liner Notes:

Clarinet Pete Fountain
Piano Stan Wrightsman
Bass Morty Corb
Drums Jack Sperling

These songs are from he LP PETE FOUNTAIN'S NEW ORLEANS Coral CRL 757282 Stereo / CRL 57282 Mono

Clarinet Solos with Rhythm Accompaniment

No matter how far upstream jazz may have come from New Orleans, there exists a nostalgia, in some cases a reverence, in most minds, for that early cradle of American music. And, as a general rule, New Orleans musicians help to perpetuate that nostalgia and reverence. They live on streets with wonderful names. They study in time-honored tradition. They begin their professional lives in a flamboyant manner. Then they work on other streets with even more wonderful names. And, at least since that first wave or two, which went to Chicago, they just never want to leave home.

With pianist Stan Wrightsman, bassist Morty Corb and drummer Jack Sperling, all of them free-wheeling swingers, Pete demonstrates what has been a long time developing in this guided tour through his musical life - that Pete Fountain is a wonderful clarinetist, a member of that old school of warm, personally communicative musicians whose playing denies a dateline. What can be heard here is an excellent musician, accompanied by other excellent musicians, playing songs that are as familiar as the seasons of the year, allowing talent and artistry to grace each with that pleasant freshness that each season brings.

But now I am getting carried away by words, and the temptation is strong to close with some play on his name, such a wonderful one for a jazz musician. I thought for the moment that such a working of his name into the album title would be especially fitting. But Pete Fountain's New Orleans is probably the best name that there could be for this collection. If You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans, you'll know how happy he is to be back. And this is the eminently satisfying music of a happy man.