Sunday, April 22, 2007

Pete Fountain's French Quarter - Coral Records

Pete Fountain's French Quarter

1961 Coral - CRL 757359 Stereo / CRL 57359 Mono

Side One
1. Summertime
2. Dear Old Southland
3. Oh, Didn't He Ramble
4. Bye Bye Blackbird
5. Lazy Bones
6. Someday, Sweetheart

Side Two
1. Is It True What They Say About Dixie
2. Shrimp Boats
3. That Da Da Strain
4. Theme From The French Quarter
5. Dixie
6. Birth Of The Blues

Liner Notes:

Pete Fountain's French Quarter New Orleans
Clarinet Solos With Rhythm Accompaniment

Personnel: P. Fountain, clarinet; Godfrey Hirsch, vibraphone; Stan Wrightsman, piano; Morty Corb, bass; Jack Sperling, drums.

One of the newest, plushest, and most popular clubs in New Orleans is the recently opened French Quarter Inn - its elegant brick and wrought iron facade occupying a prominent corner on the fabled, fabulous Bourbon Street.
The proprietor and main attraction is jazz clarinetist Pete Fountain, who entertains his patrons (nightly as numerous as space will allow) much in the same swinging manner as he comes to you on this album.

SUMMERTIME - Opens with explosive by-play between Jack Sperling and Morty Corb. Piano interjects a Latin-jazz feel over which Pete plays the first melodic chorus. This is followed by a solo from Stan Wrightsman on piano and then into an exciting double-time ensemble chorus with Pete paraphrasing the melody in his loose, melodic-jazz style. Closes as it opens, with the eight-beat flavor. A head-arrangement that lends an authentic French Quarter, late hour flavor.

DEAR OLD SOUTHLAND - The introduction begins like a New Orleans hymn, played by piano, bass and drums. Godfrey Hirsch plays the first chorus straight on vibes with a 'deep-river' style counter-melody played by Pete. This is followed by a doubling up of the tempo, and three wailing choruses, one by Pete, a great chorus by Stan, and finally, an ensemble with a wonderful extra ending, sparked by a bass solo by Morty.

OH, DIDN'T HE RAMBLE - The traditional New Orleans spiritual gets a warm, simple reading by Pete, aided by Godfrey on vibes, with a background reminiscent of the old Cake Walk, but slower.

BYE BYE BLACKBIRD - Opens with an interesting collection of breaks on piano, vibes and bass over a jazz-marching beat by Jack. Pete plays the first chorus and, following this, Godfrey and Jack split one, which gives Pete the impetus for his last swinging chorus. Jack and Pete close with a paraphrase of the opening breaks.

LAZY BONES - Here again, Godfrey plays the opening melody on vibes with Pete ad libbing a beautiful counter. In the second eight, this procedure is reversed and Jack picks up the tempo for a spicy bridge by Pete. At the close of this chorus the vibraphone again takes the melody, with Pete on the counter-melody.

SOMEDAY, SWEETHEART - This swinging standard is given a real Bourbon Street, Pete Fountain treatment and, although it was recorded on the West Coast and in the studio, it has the great "in person" drive that the group achieves while playing to the enthusiastic FRENCH QUARTER INN Customer's. Pete opens and closes the side by playing two choruses and, by the time the group swings into Jack Sperling's closing bass drum break, the whole place gets to rockin'.

IS IT 'TRUE WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT DIXIE - Pete and the boys prove the answer to this question is a big, swinging "yes." A two-beat version of the old popular tune that really gets off the ground with a paraphrase of "Dixie" for an introduction and ending, and choruses by Pete, Stan and Godfrey before the final ensemble.

SHRIMP BOATS - Pete takes this very popular tune, written in 3/4 time, and, starting with a slow, dark introduction, runs briefly through a statement of the melody in 3/4. Morty then does a clever trick of sneaking the `three-beat' into a four-beat and the group winds up with the tune really swinging in a sort of free ad-lib jazz with some `funky' vibe work. Just as smoothly, Morty takes it back into 3/4 for the final go-around.

THAT DA DA STRAIN - Most of the Pete Fountain fans will be delighted with this version of the somewhat remote old jazz tune that is so much a part of the deep South, and, although Pete's version is far from the traditional dixieland style, it combines his New Orleans jazz with a touch of the old and great Benny Goodman Quintet. This is evident after Morty and Jack open up with a tricky bass and cymbal introduction. All the boys are featured in solos which are separated by the interesting trio work of clarinet, vibes, and piano.

THEME FROM THE FRENCH QUARTER - Here is an original melody by Pete that is built on the traditional `blues' foundation. A haunting, clarinetesque tune played by Pete in both his low and high registers, with an interesting triplet figure by Stan in the background. This is the theme Pete has designated as the official music of his exciting, new FRENCH QUARTER INN at 800 Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

DIXIE - Jack Sperling kicks off this interesting side with a marching-jazz beat on his toy snare drum and, after a little clarinet and drum `conversation', the quintet really gets this old Civil War tune off the ground. After Pete plays his first jazz chorus, Godfrey has his say on vibes with a great solo, followed by an interesting set of `4s' between bass and drums which leads into a riff type ensemble, capped off with a wailing drum break and a short, explosive ensemble ending.

THE BIRTH OF THE BLUES - Pete takes full advantage of this wonderful melody to show his warm, sympathetic tone, plus his flair for making the melody swing. After he plays a chorus, Stan plays a fine sixteen bars on piano and then Pete takes us right back to the FRENCH QUARTER with his closing "trill from a whippoorwill - pushed through a horn, til it was born" on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

1 comment:

dannybuoy said...

My wife and I always enjoyed Pete on the Lawrence Welk show. Guess I'm showing my age. I hadn't listened to this record for probably 30 years but recently had the pleasure of hearing it again when I converted it to CD using my new USB turntable. Thanks to this website I now know the exact year it was produced. Even though it's in very good condition, I'm sure it can't be too valuable. However, I'd hate to see the kids throw it away when I'm dead and gone. Anyone know how much it might we worth to a collector?