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Pete Fountain

Peter Dewey Fountain, Jr. was born July 3, 1930 in New Orleans, the cradle of American music, Jazz. He was a skinny kid who spent too much time hanging around the front stoop of the Top Hat Dance Hall near his home. The Top Hat was a stronghold of Dixieland Jazz and Jazz already had a strong hold on Pete Fountain. But, oh the sounds! This was music straight from the soul. Sounds that would never be written in stone, that would always be brand new because they were purely personal. Pete heard all the greats in New Orleans and he knew he wanted to play Jazz.

After endless hours of practicing and listening to the recordings of Benny Goodman and Irving Fazola, the personal sound of Pete Fountain began to emerge and it was "Fat." By the time Pete was 16, he had already gained a reputation on Bourbon Street. Through these formative years of his musical training, Pete performed with several sensational bands. One such band was the Junior Dixieland Band which performed in the famous Parisian Room-often performing for legendary jazz men. A few years later Pete joined Phil Zito's International Dixieland Express. They were playing the El Morocco on the street. Pete was performing with some of the best known jazz bands in the country—The Basin Street Six, The Dukes of Dixieland, and Al Hirt.

Until 1956...Be-Bop and Rock & Roll were the hot new sounds, and the music that Pete loved could not provide him or anybody else with a living. Jazz, in its own birthplace New Orleans, was definitely asleep. He gave up music. He had no choice. With a wife and three small children to support, music was a luxury he could not afford.

In 1957, Lawrence Welk, host of the nation's most popular television program, wanted Pete on the show, and for two years, Pete was the most famous Jazz musician on television. Pete Fountain became a household name and New Orleans Jazz made a comeback that has never faded.

After two years in California, Pete came home to New Orleans. He had learned what every New Orleanian has to accept as a fact of life. you can leave New Orleans, but it never leaves you. Pete immediately opened his own jazz club in the heart of the French Quarter. His national fame and fans followed him to New Orleans which allowed Pete's club to expand, through many years, into the largest jazz club in the city. Pete has always been considered an ambassador of New Orleans Jazz as he performs his music on guest appearances on network television and specials. Some of the highlights have been such classics as the Ed Sullivan, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Andy Williams specials. More recently his credits include A Close up of Pete Fountain, Super Bowl Saturday Night and the National Memorial Day Concert. He also performed 59 times on Johnny Carson's "The Tonight Show."

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Photos

Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Dixieland Classics

Concord Music Group
1998

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Dixieland King

Concord Music Group
1998

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Pete Fountain At...

Concord Music Group
1993

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Pete's Beat

Concord Music Group
1992

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