Monday, April 9, 2007

Standing Room Only - Coral Records

Standing Room Only
Recorded "Live" At Pete Fountain's French Quarter Inn, New Orleans

1965 Coral Records CRL 757474 Stereo / CRL 57474 Mono

Side One
1. Muskrat Ramble
2. Memories Of You
3. Christopher Columbus
4. 1 Gotta Right To Sing The Blues
5. Struttin' With Some Barbecue

Side Two
1. Ramblin' Medley: a) Oh, Didn't He Ramble b) St. Louis Blues c) Comin' Round The Mountain d) Tiger Rag
2. Embraceable You (3:42-Ascap)
3. When My Sugar Walks Down The Street
4. You Are My Sunshine

Liner Notes:

Nick Fatool - Bob Havens - Eddie Miller - Charley Teagarden

Recorded "Live" At Pete Fountain's French Quarter Inn, New Orleans
Instrumentals - Pete Fountain plays a Leblanc clarinet exclusively

STANDING ROOM ONLY is nothing new at Pete's place, the French Quarter Inn in New Orleans. Not for the customers, that is. But in this case it applied to the musicians, too. The little stand was jammed with guests come to jam, for Pete Fountain had invited no less than four good friends to join him.

There was tenor saxophonist Eddie Miller, a native of New Orleans who made his name in the Ben Pollack and Bob Crosby orchestras and has since been prominent in jazz activities on the West Coast. Always uncompromisingly himself, Eddie projects a direct, uncomplicated and swinging style that complements Pete's admirably.

On trombone, there was Bob Havens, who even as a youngster always wanted to be a jazz trombonist. He spent five years of fulfillment in New Orleans, far from his home in Illinois, working with Pete, Al Hirt and George Girard before joining Lawrence Welk. He plays the whole horn and shows a special fondness for the low register.

Charley Teagarden, bearer of one of the proudest names in the jazz story, was present on trumpet, his pretty tone and marked technical facility enabling him to make a valuable contribution. There were poignant undertones to the visit to the Crescent City by this gifted Texan, for it was there that Jack, his famous brother, had died the previous year.

Like Eddie Miller, drummer Nick Fatool had been a guest at Pete's place before. Born in Milbury, Massachusetts, this veteran of the bIg bands has also played a very active part in the West Coast jazz scene. His authoritative beat and good taste arc felt in every performance.

To support these illustrious visitors, Pete used three of his regulars: Godfrey Hirsch on vibes, Earl Vuiovich on piano, and Oliver Felix on bass. Just how well they acquitted them-selves, in what w essentially a session of spontaneous music-making. is very audible in this happy album.

Kid Ory's Muskrat Ramble always makes a good opener for any session of basically Dixieland intent, especially since its two themes are said to have derived from march motifs popular in nineteenth century New Orleans. Here it served, too, to introduce the individual musicians to each other and to their appreciative audience.

Memories Of You, Eubie Blake's beautiful song, is a show-case for the lyrical tale is of Eddie Miller and Pete. Although their instruments are of contrasting character, they exhibit a real rapport in their sympathetic, "singing" variations.

Christopher Columbus, as created by another great tenor saxophonist, the late Chu Berry, was one of the outstanding anthems of the Swing Era. For this version, Pete chose an unusually slow and relaxed tempo, at which he, Godfrey Hirsch, Bob Havens and Eddie Miller rock vigorously.

I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues is indelibly associated with that outstanding trombonist, the late Jack Teagarden. Bob Havens and Pete play sincere homage, and Bob reproduces Jack's famous closing cadenza.

Struttin' With Some Barbecue, Louis Armstrong's much-loved number, was given an entirely unprepared performance. After stirring clarinet, trombone and tenor solos, it resolves into a fascinating duet between Nick Fatool and Pete. The all-out last chorus brings an ovation from the enthusiastic crowd.

A ground plan was devised for the lively Ramblin' Medley, which consists of the traditional New Orleans marching song, Oh, Didn't He Ramble, and three interpolated melodies. Pete exchanges first four-bar and then two-bar phrases with Eddie Miller for two choruses, until a riff reminds the company of St. Louis Blues; Godfrey Hirsch and Pete dialog similarly until another riff introduces Comin' Round The Mountain; and last, Bob Havens and Pete take over with fours and twos until they riff into Tiger Rag and the finale.

Gershwin's Embraceable You is a tune trumpet players have made very much their own, and here it proves an appropriate vehicle for Charley Teagarden's sensitive phrasing. flexibility and invention. Pete introduces the second chorus and lends warm support as Charley returns to underline the song's sentiment.

When My Sugar Walks Down The Street was a number Eddie Miller very much wanted to play, and his enthusiasm for it comes through both in his solo paraphrase and in the duet with Pete. Godfrey Hirsch, Oliver Felix and Nick Fatool also come to the fore to have their say, Nick's neat, well-constructed solo justly drawing a special burst of applause.

You Are My Sunshine, another completely spontaneous interpretation, was decided on after a brief discussion. Pete had never played it before, but when it was pointed out that the composer was Jimmie Davis, a singer, guitarist and former governor of Louisiana, who also happened to record for the same company as himself, he felt it was an entirely proper choice of material. "We got him coming and going!" he ex-claimed. Godfrey Hirsch supplements Nick Fatool on snare drum here. After rousing statements from Miller, Havens and Fatool, the indefatigable Pete brings the set to a blazing conclusion - and the audience to its feet for a standing ovation.

The customer is always right, and the customer obviously decided that music like this was worth standing for!


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