Sunday, July 11, 2010

Vacation Photo in French Quarter - Memorabilia

Statue of Pete Fountain

Statue of Pete Fountain in Edison Park / Legends Park,
Bourbon Street, French Quarter, New Orleans with
yours truly on a recent visit to New Orleans Memorial Day!

More Pete's 80th Birthday Photos - News

More Pete's 80th Birthday Photos
Courtesy of John McCusker / The Times-Picayune

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Pete Fountain's 80th Birthday Bash - News

Pete Fountain's 80th Birthday Bash
Reported by John Titsworth

Unlike the predicted downpour and thunderstorms, Saturday July 3rd turned out to a beautiful sunny, albeit hot and humid, summer day in New Orleans. Befitting for a man who was about to throw a big bash open to the public for his 80th birthday at a popular entertainment venue geared generally to a younger audience, Mid-City Rock ‘n Bowl.

Slated to begin at 3:00 and end at 6:00, the party began instead when the doors opened at 2:00. Within just a few minutes the Rock ‘n Bowl became standing room only. A long line of well wishers assembled to sign the sizable guess book, a line that never diminished for the next 4 hours.

The Fountain family spent all morning tastefully decorating the place themselves that included a 12-foot long cake in the shape of a clarinet baked at the Swiss Bakery located on St. Charles Ave., a stop for the Half-Fast Walking Club during Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday. Tickets were sold for a raffle of certain prized items that included a lamp made out of a clarinet.

For the drawing Pete himself drew the winning tickets out of a bucket held by his granddaughter, Danielle, accompanied by Pete’s manager for the past 35 years, Benny Harrell.

A birthday party would not be complete without a birthday cake and candle blowing ceremony. Pete blew out all the candles on his first attempt on a cake held by his son Jeffrey.

Surrounded by his family on stage that included Beverly, Pete’s wife of 60 years, the music was about to begin.

Pete's daughter Darah wishing her dad all the best with a birthday kiss.

Now to the music. The concert was broken up into 3 sets.

For the first set the band sans Pete opened up with "Fidgety Feet" followed by traditional jazz standards including "Together".

After the break when the raffle and birthday cake festivities took place, Pete joined the band. The anticipation of the second set riveted the crowd.

Pete’s live appearances in New Orleans have become a rarity. Television cameras from the local TV stations were on hand to capture the event. The band opened with and burned up "Clarinet Marmalade".

Pete fired up the next tune on "Up the Lazy River" that included solos from members of the band: Connie Jones (cor), Tim Laughlin (cl), Mike Genevay (tb), Otis Bazoon (ts), Allyn Young (g), David Boeddinghaus (p), Kerry Lewis (b), and Bryan Barberot (dr).

The band members doing their solos

Tim soulfully caressed the nuances on the following tune "Basin Street Blues" as Pete second-lined hand-in-hand on stage with New Orleans jazz entrepreneur since the 1940s.

Helen Arlt
still kicking in the 21st Century.

Next guitarist and vocalist Allyn Young offered humorous earthy lyrics to which Mike Genevay playfully mimicked on a blues-drenched tune based on "Tin Roof Blues".

Unannounced guest clarinetist, Greg Harrison, hailing from the Washington, DC area, joined in emoting bluesy warmth.

But Pete had one more trick up his sleeve. Granddaughter and professional dancer, Danielle Harrell Scheib, bounced up on stage and spiritedly tapped complementary rhythms to "St Louis Blues"; scores of digital cameras flashed as the TV cameras rolled.

Conclusion, no Pete Fountain concert would be complete without Pete’s soulful interpretation of "Just a Closer Walk With Thee", which is exactly what Pete rendered after which he bid everyone goodbye. He gave the packed house more than what they had come for - a soon to be not forgotten magical 80th birthday celebration that only Pete could possibly deliver. And deliver he did.

John Titsworth, a New Orleans resident, is a frequent contributor to this blog. His contributions are appreciated, we thank you!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Pete Fountain Birthday Bash and Music in New Orleans Sat. July 3 - News

Pete Fountain Birthday Bash and Music in New Orleans Sat. July 3
by Keith Spera, The Times-Picayune

Clarinetist Pete Fountain, Mr. New Orleans, ranks among the Crescent City’s most beloved musicians. Cutting up on the old Lawrence Welk show, goofing around with Johnny Carson and the gang, presiding over nightclubs on Bourbon Street and in the Hilton Riverside, marching with his Half Fast Walking Club each Mardi Gras morning, entertaining popes and presidents - he’s done it all while conjuring some of the sweetest jazz to ever emerge from a clarinet. Fountain performs twice a month at the Hollywood Casino in Bay St. Louis, Miss.; his hometown shows are mostly at festivals. But on Saturday afternoon, Fountain plans to celebrate his 80th birthday with a special 3 p.m. performance at Rock ’n’ Bowl. He’ll share the stage with clarinetist Tim Laughlin and cornetist Connie Jones.

Pete Fountain celebrates his 80th birthday at Mid City Rock-n-Bowl in New Orleans with Tim Laughlin, Connie Jones and Co. July 3, 2010. Some You-Tube videos:

Clarinet Marmalade

Struttin' with Some Barbecue

Pete's granddaughter Danielle tap dances as the band wails on St. Louis Blues

Basin Street Blues

Up a Lazy River

Do You Ever Think of Me?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Pete Fountain's 80th Birthday - News

Happy 80th Birthday Pete!

Pete Fountain, Jazz Clarinetist, was born on July 3, 1930 in New Orleans. He has entertained us for decades and we all wish him the best.

We wish Pete a happy 80th birthday, and may he continue to "toot" and make music for many more years.

Pete's Baby Photo

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Pete Fountain Birthday Card Video: Tim Laughlin on his Mentor

A Pete Fountain Birthday Card Video
from Tim Laughlin on his Mentor

Times-Picayune videographer John McCusker interviews local clarinetist Tim Laughlin on the importance that jazz legend Pete Fountain has played in his life in this remembrance in celebration of Fountain's 80th birthday.

Courtesty of