Inside the Mind of Isadora


Sunday Song – St. James Infirmary

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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.

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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.

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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

2016©Isadora DeLaVega

When The Saints Go Marching In

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New Orleans Jazz Styles

Louis Armstrong – Basin Street Blues

                                        Jazz historian Al Rose defined jazz as “two or more musical voices improvising collectively in two-four or four-four time on any known melody and ‘syncopating.’ ” Though this definition does not include soloists like Louis Armstrong, it describes the creative freedom of this style that centered and flourished on the streets of New Orleans.

Tuba Skinny New Orleans Hot Jazz Band perform at Barbes Bro

New Orleans Jazz has a swinging, stomping, syncopated beat that makes you want to dance! It also has a simple melodic quality.

Congo Street – [The Nevile Brothers]

Congo Square In 1764, when the Spanish took over New Orleans, the Creoles needed work, which led to many of them becoming traveling musicians. These musicians were the inventors of early jazz, through their expression of African dancing and music. On Sundays, they would gather on a grassy plain on the northwestern edge of the city, where slaves were allowed to dance. This area became known as the Congo Square because of the use of African cultural elements and dances.

For more information on New Orleans Jazz Styles

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Each Tuesday, Frizz, is walking us through the alphabet A – Z. This week is the Letter N


Instrument – Clarinet

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Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana has long been known for jazz and its’ street artists. On a visit several years ago, my husband and I came across this woman playing the clarinet and couldn’t believe it. The sound that came out was overwhelming. She isn’t a professional. She’s a woman trying to make a living for herself and her daughter. Be sure to take note her daughter patiently waiting while sitting in front of the red van. This isn’t a professional video but someone should make one.

Pete Fountains is a professional musician who has played with many of the great jazz artists in New Orleans.

9673136346_3946b09591[1] - CopyDescription: Every Tuesday I offer the “A to Z challenge”, walking step by step through the alphabet – to join in –