Sunday, August 26, 2007

Swingin' Blues - Ranwood Records

Swingin' Blues

1990 Ranwood Records 1002-2

CD Listing
01. Walking The Floor Over You
02. Honky Tonk
03. Georgia
04. Up A Lazy River
05. Closer Walk With Thee
06. Alice Blue Gown
07. Basin Street Blues
08. Running Wild
09. Deep Purple
10. Tin Roof Blues
11. Amazing Grace
12. Jazz Me Blues
13. Muskrat Ramble
14. Marie
15. It Had To Be You

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this CD. It features Pete tooting in the traditional Dixieland style as we have come to love him. There are his signature songs (Just a closer Walk With Thee, Amazing Grace) and some standards (Georgia, It Had to Be You). He really lets go on the traditional Dixieland songs, Muskrat Ramble, Basin Street Blues, Tin Roof Blues and Jazz Me Blues. I liked hearing a tuba (being a tuba player myself). There is some really good guitar playing (although there is no guitar player in the credits, it's either the listed fiddle player Johnny Gimbel or banjo player Les Muscott). The recording quality is excellant. All together, a solid CD that is now on my iPod. - David Mekalian

Liner Notes:

Pete Fountain, clarinet
Mike Genevay, trombone
Charlie Lodice, drums
Oliver Felix, bass
Tom Gekler, trombone
Bill Bachman, trumpet
Ed Firth. tuba
Les Muscott, banjo
Johnny Gimbel, fiddle
Earl Vuiovich, piano
Toni Gekler, trombone
Jimmy Weber. trumpet
Bob Molinelli, piano

Produced by Pete Fountain/Recorded at Studio In The Country, Bogalusa, Louisiana. Recorded analog, mixed and mastered digitally.

Engineers: Bill Evans and Gene Foster
Photography: Mike Terranova
Package Design: Susanne Smolka
Unicorn Publishing Services
Preproduction Coordinator: Georgette Pantello
Management: Benjamin Harrell
Special Thanks: Owen Bradley, Bobby Bradley, Doug Crider and Larry Welk

New Orleans All Stars - Tradition Records

New Orleans All Stars

Inserts Below (5 page booklet in liners notes)

1997 Tradition Records TCD 1047 Mono

CD Listing
1. South Rampart Street Parade
2. Sensation Rag
3. Sunset In Paradise
4. In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree
5. Bayou Blues
6. Jazz Me Blues
7. Bugle Call Rag
8. Saint James Infirmary
9. When The Saints Go Marching

Liner Notes:

Reissue produced by Anton Glovsky - Sonically cleansed using the Cedar system, Digital restoration by Allen Lowe - Series design by Steven Jurgensmeyer Cover photography courtesy of Michael Ochs - Archive Research by Nick Olney and Eric Johnson.

New Orleans All-Stars - Clarinetist Pete Fountain still reigns supreme as the king of New Orleans jazz. Recorded in 1957. this comprehensive collection of various sessions features inspired solos by Fountain. pianists. trombonists. trumpeters. and even the occasional tuba player.

The Tradition reissue of this album includes new comprehensive liner notes. The mastertapes were digitally restored and remastered for this release.

Pete Fountain: clarinet
Tony Almerico: trumpet
Jack Delaney: trombone
Roy Zimmerman: piano
Lester Bouchon: clarinet. tenor saxophone
Frank Frederico: guitar
Joe Lovacano: bass
Johnny Castain: drums

5 Page Booklet:

New Orleans is a strange and wondrous place, a city of great mystique to those of us who view it at a distance, but a home of some fickleness to those who try to make a living playing music there. Like many great musical cities of jazz's formative years, it seemed to expel some of the best and brightest of its pioneers with the hostility of poor working conditions, low pay, and general neglect (the early trombonist George Brunis said the best thing about New Orleans was the next train out of town). Some, however, saw fit to return to this city which was, if not the actual cradle of jazz, than its place of deepest and most profound incubation.

We won't spend a lot of time on the racial politics of this city, except to note that a) it is no accident that so much great music developed in a city of such great cross-racial acculturation, and b) racism still thrived here as it did in the rest of the South throughout the pre- and post-war years. Our point is only to show how upside down the world of race and culture is; how, in a music whose pioneers have always been African-Americans, the danger is of ignoring the essence by which we ought to make our musical judgments. That essence is the music itself, which, in its purist state, exists apart from the not-so-petty political squabbles that cloud the realities of our historical record.

Pete Fountain is a clarinetist who comes very deeply from within the New Orleans jazz tradition. Though capable, in the spotlight, of some very glib and shallow performance, he is also, in the final analysis, a very fine improviser, with the deep, hard but velvety tone typical of that school. He is one native son to whom the city has been particularly hospitable, succeeding not only on a national stage (he's one of the few jazzmen who ever had a regular booking on The Tonight Show) but also in a local venue, the club in the Crescent City where he's been based for some time. Maybe it's a matter of concentration and conviction, but when Fountain wants to he can play in a very emotionally and technically convincing style that, while fitting into the revivalist scheme of things, shows he's not unaware of changes in the body music over the last forty or so years. Yes, he does dip into the businessman's bounce repertoire now and then, but he shows an equal affinity for those parts of the mainstream repertoire that illustrate other sides of New Orleans' musical developments.

Born in New Orleans in 1930, Fountain began playing professionally at age twelve. From the earliest stages of his career, he showed a knack for landing in ensembles with great commercial staying power. At age twenty-five, he did an extended stint with the Dukes of Dixieland, and then followed this with an association with Al Hirt. For two years. he worked in a venue which gave him his greatest visibility and propelled him to popular stardom, The Lawrence Welk Show. Welk featured him regularly and, even in that somewhat corny and cliche environment, Fountain managed to forge an image of himself as the ultimate Dixieland clarinetist, an image he carries to this day.

On "St. James Infirmary," we hear what is obviously a working band, with a fine and idiomatic muted trumpet solo. In this "old timey" rendition, as elsewhere on this CD. we hear more than just hints that these musicians are well aware of more modern schools of playing, and the references they make to them are pithy and convincing. Listen, as well, to the piano solo, a very fine alternation of Hinesian, stop-start rhythm and well-placed chords. Essentially a blues, "St. James Infirmary" has proved itself to be a durable piece of the Swing-Dixieland repertoire.

"South Rampart Street Parade" is much more a part of the traditional street-parade sound of New Orleans if, unfortunately, here its polyphony is a bit too smoothly integrated. Listen to Fountain's interesting tonal amalgamation of native influence and Benny Goodman, his sweet. woody sound. The ensemble rides this out in that raucous but still somehow polite manner typical of the commercial side of this music, and it all comes to a typically cacophonous, New Year's Eye end.

"Bayou Blues" is a newer sounding piece, with very nice clarinet against a moody background. This is Tin Pan Alley gone South, and nonetheless pleasant for its probable less-than-authentic beginnings. The guitar takes a very pleasantly lyrical solo with an almost acoustic sound, a chordally-based turn that perfectly complements Fountain's central and recurring role. The trumpet plays a fine paraphrase of the melody, constructing his thoughtful solo from the intervals of the song.

"Sensation Rag" comes from deep within the commercial repertoire of New Orleans, from the earliest work of groups like The Original Dixieland Jazz Band and, probably, from the popular parade bands of the early part of the century. Its multi-strain structure places it as coming from the world of ragtime, as does its double time character and basic, march-like feel. This performance reflects, as well, the stomping spirit of the Dixieland revival movement, its populist reach and demographically broad appeal. Listen, particularly, to the trombone solo, which manages to sound very old fashioned, with its on-the-beat phraseology, yet still betrays a new world sensibility.

"In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree" has some of the finest soloing on this album, with good, strong trumpet playing, showing the power of the "lead" player, yet still minutely sensitive to group sound and balance. Fountain begins his solo in the clarinet's gorgeous low register, and stays there almost throughout. As usual in his playing, there's a bit of tension between his desire to sound like a down home player and his obvious knowledge of swing and post-swing clarinet. Though these varying impulses sometimes give him a surface slickness, he generally makes them work in his favor, imparting a smooth and breezy quality to his ensemble work.

"Jazz Me Blues" is of the old school, a different kind of bugle call rag. one of a stomping. hand-clapping call to arms. This is the classic sound of the most commercial side of the New Orleans school, with its very careful counterpoint and pleasing backbeat-based dance style.

"Sunset Parade" is an infectious dance-like number, and we hear, for neither the first or last time in this CD. the influence of Louis Armstrong. Fountain's solo is the center of the piece, with his usual precise and symmetrical liquid phrasing, and we hear a Yiddish turn of musical phrase by the trumpeter in what sounds almost like a piece from a Jewish wedding - not altogether surprising from a city as racially and ethnically mixed as New Orleans. The trombonist shows more than a little bit of a Teagarden-ish frame of mind, and the ensemble closes with its usual carefully arranged, but quite enthusiastic, ride out.

These are a few of the highlights of this very varied set. Fountain. still active as of this writing. is that rarity, a prosperous jazz musician of great renown, still highly visible in his hometown, and still an attraction on the touring circuit. Recorded in New Orleans, 1957.

Liner notes by Allen Lowe

High Society - RCA/BMG Records

High Society

Inside 3 Page Insert

1992 RCA/BMG/Bluebird Records 7052-2 H008-17

CD Listing
1. High Society
2. Farewell Blues
3. Darktown Strutters' Ball
4. Ballin' The Jack
5. Muskrat Ramble
6. Twelfth Street Rag
7. Tin Roof Blues
8. Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey

Liner Notes:

Pete Fountain - Clarinet
George Girard - Trumpet
Tony Almerico - Trumpet
Santo Pecora - Trombone
Jack Delaney - Trombone
Harry Shields - Clarinet
Lester Bouchen - Tenor Sax
Frank Federico - Guitar
Roy Zimmerman - Piano
Phil Darice - Bass
Roger Johnston - Drums
Paul Edwards - Drums
Wes Buchanan - Guitar

Produced by Pete Fountain and Other All Star Dixielanders - Recorded June 10 and 12, 1956 in New Orleans - Re-issue Producer: John Snyder Executive Producer: Steve Backer - Digitally remastered May 21, 1992 at BMG Recording Studios, New York City - Engineered by Glen Kolotkin and James Nichols Art Direction/Design: Jacqueline Murphy - Photography: Courtesy of Frank Driggs Archives - Art Research: Liz Fierro

Dixieland Classics - Ranwood Records

Dixieland Classics

Inside Back Cover

1998 Ranwood Records 7052-2 H008-17

CD One
01. Way Down Yonder In Ne Orleans
02. Alice Blue Gown
03. Up A Lazy River
04. Muskrat Ramble
05. Amazing Grace
06. San Antonio Rose
07. Cheek To Cheek
08. It Had To Be You
09. Basin Street Blues
10. You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby
11. I Can't Believe You're Still In Love With Me
12. Deep Purple
13. Georgia
14. Walking The Floor Over You
15. Honky Tonk

CD Two
01. Jazz Me Blues
02. Marie
03. Crazy
04. Running Wild
05. Paradise
06. Just A Closer Walk With Thee
07. Unforgettable
08. Wolverine Blues
09. Girl Of My Dreams
10. Rose Room
11. I Can't Stop Loving You
12. Tin Roof Blues
13. Your Cheatin' Heart
14. Nobody's Darlin'
15. When The Saints Come Marching In

Liner Notes:

Two CD best of collection, out-of-print, getting harder to find. Total of 30 tracks. There is a Dixieland Classics, Vol. 1 released a year later in 1999 with the same cover artwork, but only has the first disc. Ranwood never released a Dixieland Classics, Vol. 2.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Down On Rampart Street - Classic Sounds Records

Down On Rampart Street

1996 Classic Sounds Inc. Records CSI-7785 Stereo

CD Listing
1. St. James Infirmary Blues
2. Up A Lazy River
3. Jazz Me Blues
4. Mumbo Gumbo
5. Margie
6. That's A Plenty
7. When The Saints Go Marching In
8. High Society
9. Moanin' Low
10. South Rampart Street Parade

Liner Notes:

Somewhat difficult to find CD, a collection of Pete's early work.

Dixieland - RCA/Camden Records

Live Performace in New Orleans

Inside Insert

Alternate Cover on Import

1987 - RCA/Camden (BMG Music) Special Products CAD1-727

CD Listing:
1. When the Saints Go Marching In
2. High Society
3. Farewell Blues
4. Darktown Strutters' Ball
5. Ballin' the Jack
6. Way Down Yonder in New Orleans
7. Muskrat Ramble
8. Twelfth Street Rag
9. Tin Roof Blues
10. Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey?

Liner Notes:

Notes from the origninal 1962 release

Pete Fountain and Other All-Star Dixielanders
A&R Coordinator: Ethel Gabriel

Authentic Dixie by the "Stylists Who Made the Style"

Jazz may have come up the river from New Orleans, as the musical bromide has it, but lots of it remained behind, too, and is still flourishing there. Even though jazz, and especially the Dixieland style of jazz, has fallen into the musical melting pots of Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, San Francisco and New York, New Orleans has remained the daddy of 'em all.

There's something about New Orleans that keeps its music and its musicians continually vigorous and vital, and the city has remained a potent jumping-off point for happy musical adventures. This, despite the changes in form and pattern that have been taking place in the over all jazz scene through the past couple of decades. Also, New Orleans has continued to be one of the most fertile cities in the country for bringing new musicians to the fore. It is no accident that men like Pete Fountain and Tony Almerico have blossomed after exposure in New Orleans.

Although many words have been written about New Orleans' contribution to America's musical history, few have been able to capture the essence as well as an actual performance. This album is such a performance - and what a performance. "Live - from New Orleans" should be enough of a catch phrase to intrigue any musical buff. But there's more to this album than that. For here we have the stylists who made the style. Fore-most among them, perhaps, is Pete Fountain who has done so much to spread the Dixieland gospel around the country in the past few years. A clarinetist who can stand with the all-time greats, he has the mellow and lyrical tone that has become identified with the New Orleans clarinet style. And there is Tony Almerico, a trumpeter-singer who has upheld the New Orleans tradition for many years.

Working along with Pete Fountain and Tony Almerico are such Dixieland luminaries as trumpeter George Girard, trombonist Jack Delaney, clarinetist Harry Shields, tenor sax man Lester Bouchon, pianist Roy Zimmerman, and many others of equal stature.

There is a line in the popular New Orleans' song Basin Street which says that it's the place where old friends meet. You'll meet most of them here, playing away to their delight as well as yours.

MIKE GROSS Music Editor, Variety

Sunday, August 5, 2007

National Geographic-Destination: New Orleans (Various Artists) - Sugo Records

National Geographic-Destination: New Orleans
with Al Hirt and Pete Fountain

2001 - Sugo Records UPC: 013178010825

CD Listing:
1. Mardi Gras Mambo - Cubanismo
2. South Rampart Street Parade - Al Hirt
3. Calinda - Clifton Chenier
4. Ain't Misbehavin' - Kernit Ruffins
5. Zydeco Boogaloo - Buckwheat Zydeco
6. Louisian-i-a - Dr. Michael White
7. Stardust - Los Hombres Calientes
8. Bunny Bread - Sunpie & The Louisiana Sunspots
9. Ja-Ki-Mo-Fi-Na-Hay - Dr. John
10. Closer Walk With Thee, A - Pete Fountain
11. Go To The Mardi Gras - Professor Longhair
12. When The Saints Go Marchin' In - Sweet Emma & Her Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Liner Notes:

This is part of Sugo's National Geographic Series

New Orleans - Recipe for Cultural Gumbo - New Orleans, Louisiana's cultural epicenter, has historically served as a gateway to the mighty Mississippi River for travelers and traders, and as a melting pot for French, Spanish, African, Caribbean and American traditions. Blended from a rare mix of worldly elements, the Big Easy has a style and a sound that's truly unique. For most, New Orleans music means only jazz, R&B, or zydeco, however, this collection offers a welcome introduction to the many musical ingredients that exude the flavor of this magnificent city.

Another cultural immersion album from ~National Geographic's collaboration with Sugo Music. This installment in the series National Geographic: Destination focuses on the broad spectrum of music available in New Orleans. Jazz is certainly a strong point for the album, as one would expect from something claiming to show the birthplace of jazz. Beyond the obvious though, there are some other items of note. Zydeco is well represented by the past and present kings of the genre, as Clifton Chenier and Buckwheat Zydeco each contribute a number, as well as newcomers Sunpie the Louisiana Sunspots. The funky eclectic piano men are here as well with Professor Longhair and Dr. John each tossing a piece into the pot. There's even a good dose of spiritual easy listening as old-timer Lawrence Welk clarinetist Pete Fountain lays out a thick layer of sound on "A Closer Walk With Thee." There's even a bit of a Latin influence as ¡Cubanismo! perform the title track from their Mardi Gras Mambo album, effortlessly fusing New Orleans jazz with mambo. After a good romp around the spectrum of possibilities, the album finishes off on the ultimate standard as the Preservation Hall Jazz Band plays "When the Saints Go Marching In." As with the other National Geographic: Destination albums, detailed cultural information is included in the liner notes, making it a nice addition to the collection of the curious listener. Also, as with the other installments in the series, this album makes a good starting point for further exploration into the genres represented. Give it a listen, or toss it in the stereo for background listening during an active day.

~ Adam Greenberg, All Music Guide

Saturday, August 4, 2007

New Orleans Sound - BCI / Eclipse Records

New Orleans Sound

2003 BCI / Eclipse Records 40321-2

Disc: 1 Pete Fountain
1. St. James Infirmary
2. Margie
3. Going Home
4. Jazz Me Blues
5. South Rampart Street Parade
6. That's A-Plenty
7. World Is Waiting for the Sunrise
8. Lazy River
9. Bugle Call Rag
10. Farewell Blues
11. High Society
12. When the Saints Go Marching In

Disc: 2 Al Hirt
1. I Can't Get Started
2. Medley: Stardust/The Man With the Horn
3. Ciribiribin
4. Tuxedo Junction
5. Gonna Fly Now
6. Tenderly
7. Java
8. Toy Trumpet
9. Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom Wine
10. And the Angels Sing
11. Feels So Good
12. Boy Meets Horn
13. Rhapsody in Blue

Liner Notes:

This is actually a re-package of two CDs in a slip case:
- The Very Best of Pete Fountain
- Al Hirt Memories

Pete Fountain is the essence of New Orleans... picture yourself in his fabulous bar, sipping on your Mardi Gras cocktail, listening to the ultimate performance by "Pete" an his clarinet. Just sitback now and enjoy this mix of new and traditional bayou and jazz music from deep in the southern Mississippi Delta.

Alois Maxwell Hirt was six years old when he got his first trumpet from a pawnshop sparking what proved to be a life long love affair. Freelancing in swing bands led by Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Ray McKinley, Benny Goodman and Horace Heidt, he later performed his own band becoming the house band for Dan Levy's Pier 600 Club.

Sometime around 1955 he began teaming with Pete Fountain (clarinet) and by 1960, signed with RCA Records. All told, he recorded more than 50 albums in his career including many hit songs found in this collection. This CD brings you some of Al Hirt's finest performances and gives a clear representation of why his reputation has endured for decades.

The Very Best of Pete Fountain - BCI / Eclipse Records

The Very Best of Pete Fountain

Inside Cover Below

1998 - BCI Music Records BCCD 60410-2

CD Listing:
1. St. James Infirmary
2. Margie
3. Going Home
4. Jazz Me Blues
5. South Rampart Street Parade
6. That's A-Plenty
7. World Is Waiting for the Sunrise
8. Lazy River
9. Bugle Call Rag
10. Farewell Blues
11. High Society
12. When the Saints Go Marching In

Liner Notes:

Pete Fountain is the essence of New Orleans... picture yourself in his fabulous bar, sipping on your Mardi Gras cocktail, listening to the ultimate performance by "Pete" an his clarinet. Just sitback now and enjoy this mix of new and traditional bayou and jazz music from deep in the southern Mississippi Delta.

New Orleans Postcard for Pete Fountain's Jazz Club circa 1960 - Memorabilia

New Orleans Postcard for
Al Hirt & Pete Fountain's Jazz Clubs

1960 New Orleans Postcard for Al Hirt & Pete Fountain's Jazz Clubs

Postcard Liner Notes:

This is an old picture of a road-side advertising billboard for Al Hirt and Pete Fountian near New Orleans taken in 1960.

You can see a car racing by and out of focus. The billboard says:
  • Al Hirt and His Swingin' Dixie - Dan's Pier 600 - 501 Bourbon
  • Pete Fountain and His Jazz Group - Dan's Bateau Lounge - 600 Bourbon

Postcard is 3 1/2 inch x 5 1/2