Autographed photo of Pete Fountain @ Pete’s Place
St James Infirmary-Pete Fountain
The great and beloved clarinetist Pete Fountain’s died Saturday, August 6, 2016 of heart failure, according to his son-in-law/manager Benny Harrell. He was 86.
Pete Fountain – Basin Street Blues
I met Pete Fountain when I took my husband to New Orleans for his birthday in 1966. Jazz was, is and will always been a big part of his life. Fountain was his clarinet idol since the day he picked up the instrument.
We were visiting many, many night clubs while vacationing. We came across Pete Fountain’s club on Bourbon Street called ‘Pete’s Place’. We made reservations for that evening.
From my Scrapbook – Pete’s Place
There was no fee to get in but there was a drink minimum of $4.50 per person. This was in 1966. As non-drinkers, we had to consume a lot of soda to meet that fee.
He was exceptional as a showman. During his 20 minute intermission, he came over to our table. You can imagine how awestruck my husband was. We thought he was coming over to us because of all the cheering during his performance.
Instead, he came over to us and said, “Hey kids, how would you like to come back stage after the show and take lots of pictures.”
It’s should be no surprise that we said, “Yes, at the same time”.
“Great! Because your flash is blinding me,” he said with a chuckle as he walked away.
From my Scrapbook – Me & Pete Fountain
Pete Fountain brought the New Orleans Jazz style to mainstream music through his many solo appearances on the Lawrence Welk and Johnny Carson shows.
Peter Dewey Fountain Jr. was born in New Orleans on July 3, 1930, and was exposed from an early age to the lively small-group jazz that was an integral part of that city’s atmosphere. Inspired by Benny Goodman and the New Orleans clarinetist Irving Fazola and by a family doctor who recommended that he learn a wind instrument to strengthen his weak lungs. He began playing clarinet at age 12. 2016©Los Angeles Times
The World of Jazz has lost a great musician.
R.I.P. Pete Fountain
When The Saints Go Marching In