Saturday, April 3, 2010

Pete Fountain - Volume II - Essential Media Group

Pete Fountain - Volume II
(Digitally Remastered)

2010 - Essential Media Group

1. High Society 3:16
2. That's A Plenty 2:53
3. The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise 4:48
4. Margie 2:54
5. Up A Lazy River 3:10
6. Mahogany Hall Stomp 4:07
7. I'm Goin' Home 3:17
8. Farewell Blues 3:14

Liner Notes:

The epitome of New Orleans jazz clarinet, Pete Fountain remains the senior ambassador of the New Orleans Dixieland jazz scene. His potent combination of swing and Dixie land has endeared to fans worldwide. This collection from 1974 offers a proper view of the artist performing some of his best loved numbers including "Margie" and "Mahogany Hall Stomp".
All selections newly remastered.

This product is manufactured on demand using CD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

David Mekalian - Here is the history of these recordings:

Dixieland From New Orleans: The Basin Street Six
1950 Circle Sound Records L-403 (10" LP)

High Society
1972 Pickwick Records SPC-3201 Stereo / PC-3201 Mono

Pete Fountain Volume II
1974 Everest Records, FS-303 Stereo

The Basin Street Six: The Complete Circle Recordings
1994 GHB Records BCD-103

George Girard (trumpet)
Pete Fountain (clarinet, track 2 tenor sax)
Joe Rotis (trombone)
Roy Zimmerman (piano)
Bunny Franks (string bass)
Charlie Duke (drums)

Recorded New Orleans
Tracks 1,2,4,5,7: Aug 2, 1950
Tracks 3,6: Nov. 3, 1950

From when the very first note of Pete's clarinet hits after the two bar introduction in "High Society," you know everything is going to be alright. Such is the sweetness and surety of his tone that as he darts in and around the trumpet's melody, a feeling of well-being should immediately pervade the listening area. And then comes the solo! Here Fountain shows his true mastery, running up and down and around scales with incredible range and speed. Of course, it's easy to miss speed, hidden as it is within his silky smooth attack and technique. To top it off, he then takes out his bass clarinet and breezes through another couple choruses a few octaves down - a pretty good introduction to the Pete Fountain style and range.

After a strutted run through of "That's A Plenty," the album's second cut, "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise" finds Fountain in a slightly more contemplative mood as he makes his way almost mournfully through the theme. As the song progresses though, and the band begins to jump, the clarinet responds in kind. Here, it's fun to hear how Pete gets both melancholy and joy out of the same notes, as the clarinet gradually, but never completely, succumbs to the glee of the brass and rhythm section.

Following the introduction, the trumpet's working of "Up A Lazy River" includes some nice scale bending similar to the clarinets at the start of "Margie." The tempo here is decidedly slower than anything so far and the blues just drip off the notes.

As its name might suggest, "Mahogany Hall Stomp" marks a return to the upbeat. But, as if the bluesiness of the preceding tunes have had an effect, the tone here is more contemplative than the album's opening tunes. Which is not to say it isn't hot. The flame is just more blue than white. Trumpet leads off. followed by clarinet. The trumpet then returns in muted form and blows some impressive long notes.

"I'm Goin' Home" is one of those songs which the adjective bittersweet was born to describe. While not exactly a traditional New Orleans second line, it does put one in mind of that final send off. But the sublime accented scales of the clarinet together with the occasional united trumpet punches, make it far more sweet than bitter - and serve as a strong argument against the playing of funeral dirges on such occasions.

As impressive as Pete is when he's noodling at high speeds. it's the slow. mellow, julep-sipping stuff that is most dramatic. "Margie" is an excellent example. On the opening phrase of the melody, Pete bends a blues note with exquisite force and subtlety). It's almost as if the turntable were suddenly spinning just a hit slower (And if l were listening to a vinyl copy. I might have checked). Then the love songs vocal is presented in that matter-of-fact. Hex. I don't really sing. but nobody else showed up for the gig. kind of was that works perfectly for this type of song. After the vocal, the trumpet piano and trombone run through the tune.

With "Farewell Blues" the album ends where it began. as Pete Fountain once again runs circles around everything without breaking a sweat. Too often, people dismiss Dixieland without really listening to it. Pete Fountain makes sure you pay intention. you'll be glad you did.

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