Sunday, October 28, 2007

At the Jazz Band Ball with The Dukes Of Dixieland - VIK Records

At the Jazz Band Ball
with The Dukes Of Dixieland
Featuring Pete Fountain



1955 VIK Records LX-1025 Mono
(VIK is an RCA Records subsidiary)
reissued in 1956 on RCA Records LSP-2097 Stereo / LSM-2097 Mono as
At the Jazz Band Ball with The Dukes Of Dixieland
reissued in 1961 on RCA Records LSP-2097(e) Stereo / LSM-2097 Mono as
The Dukes Of Dixieland Featuring Pete Fountain

Side A:
1. At the Jazz Band Ball
2. Beale Street Blues
3. Muskrat Ramble
4. Blue Prelude
5. That's A-Plenty
6. Original Dixieland One-Step

Side B:
1. Panama
2. Wolverine Blues
3. Fidgety Feet
4. Tin Roof Blues
5. Tiger Rag
6. When the Saints Come Marching In

Trumpet: Frankie Assunto
Trombone: Freddie Assunto
Clarinet: Pete Fountain
Piano: Artie Seelig
Bass: Bill Potter
Drums: Roger Johnston
Vocals: Betty Owens


Liner Notes:

'Way back in 1917 our Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels, closed New Orleans' famed Storyville, and jazz took the rap. Jazz flourished in Storyville as part and parcel of the entertainment. When the "Closed" signs appeared, the New Orleans jazzmen, aided in their quest for gold by Representative Andrew Volstead and his 19th Amendment, headed for Chicago, then known as a city of booze, barons and big money. For a long, long time New Orleans wasn't the same.

Gradually, a jazz renaissance came about in New Orleans. There were outside influences, to be sure, like the Lu Watters Yerba Buena Jazz Band in San Francisco. But mainly it was the forces from within, pushing up again against a tide that wasn't pulling too hard. Bunk Johnson had a lot to do with the rebirth of jazz in New Orleans, and so did a group of youngsters who called themselves THE DUKES OF DIXIELAND.

The Dukes got themselves organized right after the fighting stopped in World War II. They were kids, but that didn't seem to matter. Six years ago they walked into the Famous Door in New Orleans for a four-week engagement, and they stayed there for something more than five-and-one-half years. In that time the saloon was remodeled two times. The drawing power of the Dukes was such that the owner had no trouble at all digging up the necessary cash to pay for the expensive redoings. In April of '55, the Dukes were signed for an engagement at the Preview Lounge in Chicago. It was such a terrific success that they've now been signed there to a long-term contract. Because of this, the air should be purer in the old Windy City. But we have gotten ahead of ourselves, for you should know just who the Dukes of Dixieland are. As of today, the roster reads:


Frankie Assunto - trumpet
Roger Johnston - drums
Freddie Assunto - trombone
Artie Seelig - piano
Pete Fountain - clarinet
Bill Potter - bass
Betty Owens - vocal

Frankie, now all of twenty-four years of age, was the real organizer. The Assunto boys, like each member of the Dukes, were born in New Orleans. They got their musical training from their father, who is still a mean man with the slide trombone. The front line, trumpet, trombone and clarinet, incidentally, is exactly the same today as it was at the beginning, and both Johnston and Seelig have been members almost since the start.

Betty Owens, who is the Duchess and who sings like it was all fun, is from Baton Rouge, which is in Louisiana too. For a while she sang as a child hillbilly star with Governor Jimmy Davis. She came to the Dukes in 1947, and we might guess that she'll be around for as long as they are, as she is married to Freddie Assunto.

There's a whale of a difference between the Dukes and a lot of the other jazz bands you hear nowadays. 'It's all to the good. Too many Dixieland bands play like it was just a dose of medicine they have to swallow each night; the Dukes don't - they obviously get a tremendous wallop out of their music making, and it comes through clear and sharp on this disc. Some younger bands depend almost entirely for effect on enthusiastic effort. The Dukes combine their enthusiasm with enormous ability. They are crisp. They work togetheras a unit, and the solo playing is fresh and imaginative. They kick into the final ensembles like the liner United States plowing into twenty-foot waves. They are equally at home with standards and popular songs of the day, with tunes that are fast and slow. In other words, the Dukes have it in diamonds, doubled and redoubled, right down to the toes of their argyles.

As for this recording, it deals strictly with the great old Dixieland war horses, with the exception, perhaps, of Blue Prelude. This is the lovely Gordon Jenkins-Joe Bishop tune that was used as a theme for years by Woody Herman, and it's used by the Dukes as a marvelous expression for Freddie Assunto's trombone.

If one single work must be picked as the outstanding number of the album, my choice would be Tin Roof Blues, that ancient collaboration of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings which became so popular as Make Love to Me in 1954. In this one there is a crackerjack and extended solo by one Peter Dewey Fountain, Jr., who is a tremendous clarinetist! There are a couple of times when the clicking of the keys on the instrument can clearly be heard, which may be a good proving point on how well the record was recorded. And a lot of the time, behind Fountain's soulful and expressive blowing, is the undercurrent theme of Yancey's Special. The effect of this is superb.

For Tiger Rag, which should be at least accredited to Jelly Roll Morton, Freddie Assunto plays some handsomely guttural trombone. The Dukes don't treat the Tiger as a race horse, but instead subject her to a steady, good gallop, which is the way it should be. Frank Assunto can be heard singing Saints, in the same kind of an "arrangement" used many years ago by Louis Armstrong. Don't miss the tromboning of Freddie on Muskrat Ramble either. Maybe he was thinking of another trombonist when he was playing this tune, another trombonist named Kid Ory who happened to write the thing. Incidentally, Muskrat Ramble didn't have a name right off the bat. It came up for recording during a session by Louis Armstrong's Hot Five. After it was all over, someone or other asked Ory for the name, and he was saved by Lil Armstrong who simply looked up and said: "Oh, that's Muskrat Ramble." Some time later Mr. Melrose of the Melrose Music Company changed the Muskrat to Muskat, because he didn't like the sound of the "rat," but it never did stick.

Panama, At the Jazz Band Ball, That's A-Plenty are wonderful expressions by the full band - solid rhythm, driving horns, magnificent clarinet and excellent solos. The album plays to a fare-thee-well from stem to stern, and that's the way it was intended by the Dukes of Dixieland, who are, as you will so readily hear, one of the real fine jazz outfits of this or any other time. So, let the record spin. As a lady on my block is apt to say, "It couldn't possibly be more fun!"


- FRED REYNOLDS

The Wizardry Of Al Hirt With Guest Star Pete Fountain - Gladwynne Records

The Wizardry Of Al Hirt
With Guest Star Pete Fountain


1962 Gladwynne GLS 2002 Stereo / GL 2002 Mono

Side A:
Al Hirt With The Dawnbusters
I. Pitter Patter
2. Fais-Do-Do
3. Fee Fo Lay
4. Mama Terrebonne

Side B
Pete Fountain
I. Jazz Me Blues
2. Bugle Call Rag
3. South Rampart Street Parade
4. Sensation Rag


Liner Notes:

In line with Gladwynne Records' desire to provide only the best in musical entertainment, we are presenting a double barreled smash, an album featuring the Wizardry of the great Al Hirt, with guest star Pete Fountain also providing four selections.

Both of these artists have carved a niche in the entertaining world as the finest Dixieland musicians to have ever entered the musical scene. Al Hirt combined this great talent with an ability to be an extremely fine master of ceremonies, to produce one of the outstanding Television shows on the networks.

In addition to having his own show, Al Hirt has appeared and starred on many of the top offerings of the television networks, and his list of credits are too numerous to mention. His wonderful personality comes to the fore in his many nightclub engagements, and he is constantly in demand. In short, he is one of the highest paid performers in the industry.

Pete Fountain is acclaimed as one of the leading clarinet virtuoses to have ever stepped upon a musical stage. One should only sit back and enjoy this album to realize the potential of the great artist.

We are truly proud of this album, for we are presenting two of the greatest - AL HIRT and PETE FOUNTAIN.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Eddie Miller and his tenor sax "With A Little Help From My Friend"...Pete Fountain - Coral Records

Eddie Miller and his tenor sax

"With A Little Help From My Friend"...Pete Fountain




1968 Coral Records CRL 757502 Stereo / CRL 57502 Mono


Another front cover, released 1969 to capitalize on Pete's popularity

Side One
1. (I WONDER WHY) YOU'RE JUST IN LOVE
With Instrumental Accompaniment Sax And Clarinet Duet
2. A HUNDRED YEARS FROM TODAY
Tenor Sax Solo With Orchestra
3. OUT OF NOWHERE
Sax And Clarinet Duet With Instrumental Accompaniment
4. ALFIE - From The Paramount Picture "Alfie"
Tenor Sax Solo With Instrumental Accompaniment
5. WE TWO BLUES
Tenor Sax And Clarinet Duet With Orchestra
6. NEW ORLEANS
Tenor Sax Solo With Instrumental Accompaniment

Side Two
1. WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS
Tenor Sax And Clarinet Solo With Orchestra
2. SOPHISTICATED LADY
Tenor Sax Solo With Orchestra
3. DREAM
Tenor Sax And Clarinet With Orchestra
4. "MISSION IMPOSSIBLE" THEME
Tenor Sax Solo With Orchestra
5. WHAT'S NEW
Tenor Sax Solo With Instrumental Accompaniment With Pete Fountain


Liner Notes:

Produced by Charles Bud Dant
Cover Photos: Hal Buksbaum
Eddie Miller plays the Vito Tenor exclusively


Eddie Miller, in the swinging '40s, was America's favorite Dixieland jazz tenor sax man. He was featured with the original Bob Crosby Bob Cats and at that time made his great record of Dream with Jo Stafford and the Pied Pipers.

Eddie Miller, today, is still making beautiful sounds on his tenor sax. He recently returned from a very successful jazz concert tour of England and is now the featured soloist with my own jazz group in New Orleans and in concerts.

"With A Little Help From My Friend" means that my man, Eddie Miller, horn and raised in New Orleans, brings you a wonderful collection of old and new favorites packed with his own jazz tradition, framed with the unique background of a modern rhythm section, featuring a swinging harpsichord and a baroque string quartet. You'll hear his beautiful tone and phrasing on Dream, New Orleans and What's New and some of his great jazz on We Two Blues, "Mission Impossible" Theme and Out Of Nowhere. My clarinet and I came along "with a little help" and had a ball.


- Pete Fountain

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tony Almerico's Dixieland All-Stars - RCA Records

Tony Almerico's Dixieland All-Stars
Dixieland Festival, Vol 1:
A Live Concert From The Rue Royale In New Orleans


1956 RCA Records A10V 0093 (Mono)
10"LP Italian import of US VIK LX 1057

Side A:
1. I Found a New Baby
2. Bugle Call Rag
3. Muskrat Ramble
4. Twelfth Street Rag


Side B:
1. Dinah
2. Milemberg Joys
3. When You're Smiling
4. Memphis Blues


Liner Notes:

Personnel
Tony Almerico trumpet
Pete Fountain clarinet
Frank Federico guitar
Joe Loyacano bass
Warren Luening, Jr. trumpet
Pee Wee Spitelera clarinet
Jack Delaney trombone, vocals
Nino Picone tenor saxophone

New Orleans, of course, was where it all started - where the polkas, the quadrilles, the tangos, the rags and the arias that soared out of the French Opera House were mixed with marches, work songs and hymns and given exotic African rhythms by musicians whose technique was based on nothing but instinct. The resultant fusion, developed by the expressive genius of an amazing succession of natural, unschooled performers, eventually became known as jazz.

It started in New Orleans but long before most people realized that jazz existed, its center had moved up the Mississippi to St. Louis, Kansas City and, principally,, to Chicago. That was in the early 1920s and since then it has stretched out horizontally across the country from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco. It has girdled the globe, reaching into every corner where phonograph records are played. Today, when anyone mentions New Orleans in connection with jazz, it is usually as the place jazz came from as though, after it headed up the Mississippi thirty-five years ago, no one had been left at home to carry on the tradition.

But jazz is still played in New Orleans with as much vigor as ever. In reality, jazz never left New Orleans. Instead, New Orleans has spread itself around the world, leaving a small part of itself wherever jazz musicians rally around a downbeat.

This album, featuring Tony Almerico's Dixieland All-Stars, is the first in a series of four Dixieland Festival recordings which will make up a report on the present lively state of jazz in New Orleans.

Tony Almerico's All-Stars, a mixture of seasoned New Orleans men and the town's vigorous younger generation, has been a fixture at the Parisian Room on Royal Street for years. What you hear on this album is exactly what you might hear if you were to walk into the Parisian Room. It is an on-the-spot recording of an actual performance, spontaneous, unrehearsed, taken down exactly as it reached the microphones, complete with the appreciative whistles and clapping of the audience.

Almerico is one of the veterans of the New Orleans musical scene who follows in that tradition started by another old New Orleans man, Louis Armstrong - the trumpet player who also sings. His authoritative lead trumpet is in constant evidence and he turns up vocally on the familiar When You're Smiling.

Joining Almerico in the front line are three of the young stars who are carrying on the vital traditions of New Orleans jazz. Pete Fountain is an exceptional clarinetist with the rich, mellow tone that is the hallmark of the great New Orleans clarinet men. Fountain got his start with The Junior Dixieland Band and the continuing line of New Orleans jazz is emphasized in these performances by the presence of two current members of the Junior Dixielanders - trumpeter Warren Luening, Jr., and clarinetist Pee Wee Spitelera. The other horns in Almerico's band are Jack Delaney, a trombonist and singer who is the closest thing to Jack Teagarden since Teagarden himself, and tenor saxophonist Nino Picone, who plays in the definitive New Orleans tenor style of Eddie Miller.

Balancing this young blood on the horns is a rhythm section that is heavy with experience. Guitarist Frank Federico was in that Ben Pollack band of the mid-Thirties which also featured Harry James, Glenn Miller, Irving Fazola and Freddie Slack. Later he toured with Louis Prima when Prima was leading a small jazz group. Joe Loyacano, on bass, comes from an outstanding New Orleans musical family which contributed three notable jazz performers to the jazz scene in the Twenties - another bassist, Arnold; another Joe, a trombonist; and Steve, a banjo player. Drummer Johnny Castaing was on the road in the same Louis Prima band.

The tunes that the Almerico band plays are familiar standards which have traveled north, east, south and west with New Orleans jazz. Theirs, however, is the native New Orleans interpretation.

And now, if you'll follow me into the Parisian Room, we'll drift on down yonder... way down yonder.


JOHN S. WILSON

Conducted by Tony Almerico. Recorded at the Parisian Room, New Orleans, June 10, 1956. Recording Engineer: Jepson Miller. Produced and directed by Herman Diaz, Jr.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Basin Street Six - Mercury Records

Basin Street Six



1951 Mercury Records MG 25111 10" LP

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
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

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 Rot is. 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 Fritzeh's Friars 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-hying 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 Robs not only looks like George Brunis of the earlier hand 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 Donn 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.

- GEORGE HOEFER

Saturday, October 20, 2007

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

Phil Zito and his New Orleans International City Dixielanders
Dixieland Express


1950 Columbia Records 10" LP CL 6110 (second issue)

Side A:
1. Bob Cats
2. Shine
3. Bye and Bye
4. Original Dixieland One Step

Side B:
1. She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain
2. Zito's Zag (2 Up and 2 own Beat)
3. Clarinet Marmalade
4. Tulane Swing

Liner Notes:

Dixieland Express

Phil Zito and his New Orleans International City Dixielanders
Recorded in New Orleans

Personnel:
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 1919 is happily serving a dual purpose. Not only is it introducing this "happy-making" music to generations almost entirely unfamiliar with it and bringing back 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.

This record introduces 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.

Monday, October 15, 2007

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

Phil Zito and his New Orleans International City Dixielanders
Dixieland Express


1949 Columbia Records CL-6110 10" LP

Side A:
1. Bob Cats
2. Shine
3. Bye and Bye
4. Original Dixieland One Step

Side B:
1. She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain
2. Zito's Zag (2 Up and 2 own Beat)
3. Clarinet Marmalade
4. Tulane Swing

Liner Notes:

Dixieland Express by Phil Zito and his New Orleans International City Dixielanders - Recorded in New Orleans in 1949

Personnel:
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 1919 is happily serving a dual purpose. Not only is it introducing this "happy-making" music to generations almost entirely unfamiliar with it and bringing back 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.

This record introduces 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.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Basin Street Six - America's Music - Mercury Records

The Basin Street Six - America's Music




1952 Mercury Records MG 25160 Mono 10" LP

Side A:
1. Panama
2. If I Could Be With You
3. I Can't Give You Anything But Love
4. Bye and Bye

Side B:
1. Sunday
2. Melancholy Rhapsody
3. Lil' Liza Jane
4. Hindustan

Liner Notes:

Personnel:
George Girard trumpet
Joe Rotis trombone
Pete Fountain clarinet
Roy Zimmerman piano
Bunny Franks bass
Charlie Duke drums

Recording Dates New Orleans August and November 1950, Chicago September 19, 1951,
Record released March 1952

From 1950-1954, Pete led The Basin Street Six, a band that also featured legendary trumpet player/vocalist George Girard, along with Joe Rotis on trombone, Roy Zimmerman on piano, Buddy Franks on bass and Charlie Duke on drums.

Dixieland in 1950 was no longer popular and the Basin Street Six was created as the greatest unemployed band in the City. It was George Girard who came up with a regular two nights a week job at L'Enfants on Canal Boulevard. The band had to play dance music mostly. Bill Reed of WWL TV picked up the show as part of his dixieland revival campaign and within three months the Basin Street Six had found their niche as a funny hat band, wearing old Mardi Gras costumes, switching instruments and even dressing up as girls on occasions, a real fun band but still playing good dixieland jazz.

In fact the band was good enough to make their first recording session towards the end of the year. The group soon landed a recording contract with the Mercury imprint in 1952. For Mercury they recorded a handful of singles and LPs. Pete Fountain was on his way.

When the TV job closed, L'Enfants returned to having only a dance music policy and late in 1951 the Basin Street Six were again looking for work. Within a week the band opened at Perez's Oasis and then the Silver Slipper Club on Bourbon Street (the same building that housed the Silver Slipper Club became Your Father's Moustache' during the 60's and 70's but now no longer exists as a jazz venue).

Soon they were playing six nights a week all over the City, the dixieland revival was in full swing. A second recording session was made this time for Mercury Records. Down Beat carried a story, the band were now living like celebrities. Blaise D'Antoni, president of the Standard Fruit Company, the largest importer of bananas in New Orleans, bought the band under a ninety-nine year contract, he liked the way they clowned and played. All the members of the band signed the contract, part of the deal being that the Standard Fruit Company continued to call the band the Basin Street Six. The band opened on a banana boat bound for Honduras, a two week cruise entertaining Mr. D'Antoni's guests. Everybody had a good time but it could not last and the ninety-nine year contract ended after three months, with everyone parting friends.

Back in New Orleans the Basin Street Six played the intermission set for a Louis Armstrong concert at the Municipal Auditorium, a fitting accolade for the fine little band. A trip to the Blue Note in Chicago was reluctantly made, none of the men wanted to be away from home for long. There were periods of squabbling and it became obvious that there were feelings of discontent among the fellows, they were falling out over everything. In four years the band had always been run as a cooperative unit, no leader, but this had not always been easy as George Girard was really a natural leader with a super strong personality. Upon returning from Chicago George quit the band to form him own group, Connie Jones replaced him for a while, Roy Zimmerman and Pete Fountain left a few weeks later. It was 1954, the Basin Street Six were no more. George Girard was destined to be one of New Orleans greatest talents, but unfortunately passed away from colon cancer at the young age of 26 two years later. A chapter completes in the continuing story of New Orleans dixieland jazz.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

King of New Orleans Jazz - AIM Records

King of New Orleans Jazz





2006 AIM Records AIM-1607

CD Listing:
Pete Fountain with The Basin Street Six

1. High Society
2. That's A Plenty
3. The World is Waiting For The Sunrise
4. Margie
5. Up The Lazy River
6. Mahogany Hall Stomp
7. Farewell Blues

Pete Fountain with The New Orleans All Stars

8. Sensation Rag
9. Sunset In Paradise
10. In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree
11. Bayou Blues
12. Jazz Me Blues
13. Bugle Call Rag
14. St. James Infirmary
15. When The Saints Go Marching In

Liner Notes:

Pete Fountain was the last of the great New Orleans clarinetists. He will be forever linked to the Traditional Jazz revival of the 1950s, but he was far more steeped in the tradition than his contemporaries in that movement. Born in New Orleans in 1930, he came by his Jazz training at the source, on the streets of the Big Easy. Pete picked up the clarinet at age nine and studied under Professor John Hyman (aka "Johnny Wiggs" in the nightclubs). His influences were Barney Bigard, George Lewis, Bennie Goodman and Irving Fazola (who played with local legend Louis Prima). In high school he got serious about music and "Basin Street Blues" became Pete's signature tune. By 1948 he was performing with the semi-pro Junior Dixieland Band before joining Phil Zito's group the following year.

From 1950-1954, Pete led The Basin Street Six, a band that also featured legendary trumpet player/vocalist George Girard, along with Joe Rotis on trombone, Roy Zimmerman on piano, Buddy Franks on bass and Charlie Duke on drums. The group was very popular around New Orleans and soon landed a recording contract with Circle Records, a local label that also released sides by Lizzie Miles and her New Orleans Boys, Billy Butterfield, Jonah Jones and reissues of classic Jazz. They recorded an LP, "Dixieland From New Orleans" for the company in 1950 before moving over to the 504 label to record the album "Dixieland Jazz Concert" in 1951, and finally signed with the much bigger Mercury imprint in 1952. For Mercury they recorded a handful of singles and the LP "Strictly Dixie". Pete Fountain was on his way.

In 1955 Pete joined The Dukes Of Dixieland, a group led by brothers Frank and Fred Assunto (on trumpet and trombone respectively). The Dukes had been the house band at the Famous Door nightclub since 1950 and were New Orleans fixtures. With the Dukes Of Dixieland, Pete recorded for Vik and RCA in 1955 and Audio Fidelity in 1956. This was a very high profile gig and Pete soon got an offer to go to New York to become a featured soloist on The Lawrence Welk Show. From 1957 to 1959, he was in millions of Americans homes thanks to this popular network television program. Fountain signed with Coral Records, with whom he recorded from 1959 to 1965, and earned three gold record awards during this period. He wasn't happy musically with Welk though, and returned to New Orleans in 1960 to open his own nightclub. The fame afforded by Lawrence Welk and network TV made it an instant success and he continued to run and perform at his club until his retirement in 2003.

The 1960s and 1970s saw Pete's fame grow by leaps and bounds. He was a regular on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show and his recordings with AI Hirt were very popular (if less than artistically satisfying). His best records were recorded for Coral and his work after 1965 became increasingly commercial. He was prolific though, releasing over 90 albums in the course of his career. The eighties and nineties saw him slowing down and spending more time in New Orleans and doing some Jazz festival appearances. He still performs occasionally and lives in his beloved New Orleans.

The recordings on this CD are from Pete's pre-commercial era and are some of his best. The first seven tracks are from his stay at Circle Records in 1950 with the Basin Street Six. The second half of the CD features seven tracks that are some of Fountain's earliest as a leader. They are from 1957 and feature The New Orleans All Stars, including Buck Clayton on trumpet, Bud Freeman on saxophone and Vic Dickenson on trombone. And on the live recordings the band is comprised of Tony Almerico on trumpet, Jack Delaney on trombone, Roy Zimmerman on piano, Frank Frederico on guitar, Lester Bouchan on saxophone, Joe Loyacano on bass and Johnny Castain on drums. All were recorded in New Orleans, the cradle of Jazz.

- Fred James 2006

Yule B' Swingin' - Hip-0 Records

Yule B' Swingin'
Various Artist featuring Pete Fountain performing his
Medley: Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town / Jingle Bellson on Track 10





1998 Hip-0 Records HIPD-40117


CD Listing:
1. Louis Prima - What Will Santa Claus Say When He Finds Everybody Swinging?
2. Louis Armstrong & The Commanders - Cool Yule
3. Glenn Miller & His Orchestra - Jingle Bells
4. Ella Fitzgerald - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
5. Ralph Marterie & His Orchestra - Dig That Crazy Santa Claus
6. Les Drown & His Band Of Renown - Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
7. Lionel Hampton - Merry Christmas, Baby
9. Johnny Desmond - Sleigh Ride
10. Pete Fountain - Medley: Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town / Jingle Bells
11. Peggy Lee - Ring Those Christmas Bells
12. Lionel Hampton - Swingle Jingle
13 Nancy Wilson - What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?
14. Dean Martin - I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm


Liner Notes:

Compiled And Produced By Andy Mckaie
Coordinated By Laura Graven & Mitch Steele
Digitally Remastered By Doug Schwartz, Audio Mechanics, N. Hollywood, Ca
Art Direction: Paul Santos
Design: Wilson Design Group
Thanks To Ken Batchelor, Will Friedwaid &Tony Natelli

Christmas can and should be among the most joyous times of the year, and Swing is about the happiest music there is. Put Christmas and Swing together. and you get some seriously delirious party music! All-time great swingers like Louis Prima, Pete Fountain, Dean Martin. Peggy Lee. Louis Armstrong and Lionel Hampton enliven holiday classics as well as deliver hip Christmas originals for your dancing, listening and partying pleasure.

So, dig that crazy Santa Claus, have a cool Yule, and you'll know what Santa will say when he finds everybody swinging!

Merry Christmas, Baby!

Best Christmas Ever - Virgin Records America

Best Christmas Ever
Various Artist featuring Pete Fountain
performing Blue Christmas (Track 14)




1996 Virgin Records America 7243-8-42183-2-4

CD Listing:
1. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow -
Performed by Dean Martin
2. Snow Baby - Performed by Eartha Kitt
3. Twelve Days of Christmas - Performed by Harry Belafonte
4. Winter Wonderland -
Performed by Doris Day
5. I Wanna Spend Christmas With You - Performed by Lowell Fulsom
6. I'll Be Home For Christmas - Performed by Hadda Brooks
7. Merry Chrislmas Baby - Performed by Charles Brown
8. The Chrisimas Song -
Performed by Ella Fitzgerald
9. O Holy Night -
Performed by Nat King Cole
10. Silent Night Story - Performed by Solomon Burke
11. O Little Town Of Bethlehem -
Performed by Aaron Neville
12. White Christmas - Performed by Hadda Brooks
13. I Want You With Me At Christmas - Performed by Jesse Belvin
14. Blue Christmas - Performed by Pete Fountain
15. What Are You Doris New Year's 'Eve - Performed by Lena Horne
16. Baby. It's Cold Outside - Performed by Louis Armstrong
17. Christmas Celebration - Performed by B.B. King

Angels In The Morning

Angels In The Morning



Does anyone have a copy of this CD? It is listed on Pete's website, but the site that you order it from is a dead link. I'd like to review it here, scan the covers etc. Please email me if you have a copy you either would sell or lend out.

Liner Notes:

This new CD single features singer Luther Kent Jazz great Pete Fountain, and arranged by Grammy winner Allen Toussaint.

Remembering the victims, their families and the heroes of the September 11th attack on America, this powerful, moving song will surely be a valuable addition to your CD music collection.

The combination of powerful lyrics with the incredible voice of Luther Kent and the famous trademark sound of Pete Fountain will make this a must-have recording.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Review - Hollywood Casino Performace, Bay St. Louis, MS

Hollywood Casino Performance
Bay St. Louis, MS

Casino Billboards Advertising Pete’s Gig

Pete was kind enough to pose for a picture after the performance.


The show is in a very personal size room at the casino, where ever you sit you are close enough to get a great view of the stage. Unlike other times I've seen Pete in larger venues, this was almost like a personal concert. The show starts with a short video detailing Pete's long career. It details his beginnings in grade school, his time with Basin Street Six, Al Hirt, Dukes and other New Orleans bands. It has clips from his final performance on the Lawrence Welk show, some great clips with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show, the Ed Sullivan Show in 1961, his performance before 400,000 when the Pope was in New Orleans, and his appearances with Louis Armstrong and various Presidents at the White House. As the last clips finishes, the band starts playing as the curtain rises.



The set was solid New Orleans/Dixieland style jazz. No vibes or laid back orchestrations, just solid driving jazz! They played for an hour or so. When the curtain rose, you are focused on Pete. As he is playing and the audience is applauding, you can see a glint in his eyes. His eyes were "smiling" and he had a grin as he played. It's obvious he really enjoys performing. While not as mobile as he once was (he is 77 years old), he hasn't lost a step musically and is a joy to watch. His wailing clarinet was as clean as ever. The band, as they each did their solos, were excellent. The piano player Dave Boedinghaus, was incredible, played a real "pumping" piano. Other members, New Orleans legends Conrad 'Connie' Jones on cornet and Oliver "Stick" Felix on bass (been with Pete since 1961), Tom Maggiore on tenor sax, Mike Genevay on trombone, Bryan Barberot on drums and guitarist Allyn Young were all top notch.


Some of the tunes they played were Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?, Basin Street Blues, St. Louis Blues, Just a Closer Walk with Thee, and the grand finale was When the Saints Go Marching In.


After the show, I had the chance to get a picture with Pete and asked him some questions about his career. I mentioned that some of his CD's are going for $50 - $100 these days (Country, Touch of Class, Allegiance Xtra, Christmas is A Comin', etc) He reacted humbly "I'm not worth it!" I asked him what his favorite recording is, he hesitated in specify a particular LP, I suggested I really liked "The Dukes of Dixieland with Pete Fountain" and he agreed "that is a good one." I also gave him the URL to this blog, he mentioned he would take a look and is interested to see what we have here. Let's hope he takes a look and gives some feedback.

If you have a chance, go see Pete perform. He looks good and still sounds great, and has a very good band backing him. I'm glad I made the trip.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Pete Fountain by Phillip Sage - Memorabilia

Pete Fountain by Phillip Sage


"Pete Fountain"
Limited edition of 200 etchings by New Orleans artist Phillip Sage
15" x 18" signed & numbered

The artist whose prints richly portray the life of the south including his perception of the traditions of New Orleans.

The French Quarter Inn - Memorabilia

The French Quarter Inn



Pete Fountain's Jazz Club, "The French Quarter Inn" Circa late 1960's

Mr. New Orleans Pete Fountain Bronze Jazz Sculpture - Memorabilia

Mr. New Orleans Pete Fountain Bronze Jazz Sculpture


Mr. New Orleans Pete Fountain Bronze Jazz Sculpture
19" Bronze Jazz Sculpture Limited Edition: 175

New Orleans Jazz Fest Pete Fountain Postcard - Memorabilia

1993 New Orleans Jazz Fest Postcard of Pete Fountain


A limited edition USPS cover from the New Orleans Jazz Fest of 1993 honoring Pete Fountain.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Santo Pecora And His Dixie Land Jazz Band - Mercury Records

Santo Pecora And His Dixie Land Jazz Band
featuring Pete Fountain


1950 - Mercury Jazz Series C-419

Santo Pecora Photo

Side A
1. Listen (Ferber)

Side B
1. Mahogany Hall Stomp (Williams)


Liner Notes:

One of the earliest Pete Fountain recordings. No cover on this one, just the 78 rpm record.

Personnel:
George Girard, trumpet

Santo Pecora, trombone
Pete Fountain, clarinet
Armand Hug, piano
John Sinac, bass
Santo Pecora, drums

Recorded in New Orleans, LA, June 1950. Both sides are also available on Mercury MG C-123

Allegiance Extra Pete Fountain / Al Hirt - Allegiance Records

Allegiance Extra Pete Fountain / Al Hirt




1987 Allegiance Records CDP-72923


CD Listing:

Pete Fountain "Fountain Of Youth"
1. Up A Lazy River 3:08
2. Mahogany Hall Stomp 4:07
3. Sunset In Paradise 2:31
4. The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise 4:46
5. I'm Going Home 3:15
6. Farewell Blues 3:08
7. That's A-Plenty 2:51
8. High Society 3:15
9. In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree 3:27
10. Bayou Blues 3:58

Al Hirt "Blues Line"
11. Faded Love 2:31
12. Lonesome Street 2:32
13. Orange Blossom Special 2:22
14. Louisiana Man 2:35
15. Oh Lonesome Me 1:55
16. Break My Mind 2:55
17. I Walk The Line 2:20
18. When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold 2:06
19. I Really Don't Want To Know 2:46
20. Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain 2:44
21. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry 3:00

Liner Notes:

Illustration: Terry Robinson
Design: Tommy Steele

Compact Disc Credits
Digitally Remixed And Mastered At: Dave Pell Digital By Michael Boshears
Art Director: Dee Westlund
Design: Murry Whiteman
Cover: Tommy Steele
Format compact disc.

Allegiance Extra Pete Fountain: Fountain of Youth / Al Hirt: Blue Line

This is a CD that has two original vinyl records, one by Pete Fountain and the other by Al Hirt. Not much information is included on the enclosed artwork. Allegiance is a small record label in California, they have many releases from John Denver to Mary Wells.

This CD is out-of-print and hard to find at a reasonable price. It is listed these days for $50 - $100 if you can find it. There is nothing rare about the music, it's on a number of CDs and you can still find the individual vinyl LPs if you look hard enough.