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!