Pete Fountain and the Jazz Clarinet(Peter Dewey Fountain, Jr.) A perfect combination
Life/Career • The Name of Piece Playing: Shine • Pete Fountain was Born July 3, 1930 in New Orleans, Louisiana • His childhood was spent hanging around a dance hall near his home called the Top Hat. At the time it was the hot spot for Dixieland Jazz. • As a child Pete had severe breathing problems and the doctor told his father to buy him a wind instrument to help strengthen his lungs, so he picked the clarinet.
Life/Career Continued • Fountain grew up listening to the sounds of George Lewis, Raymond Burke, Benny Goodman and Irving Fazola, who were all famous Dixieland Jazz clarinetists of his childhood. • His sound was said not to imitate just one of their sounds, but to be a combination of all of their sounds together. • By the time Pete was 16, he already made a name for himself on Bourbon Street. • Pete performed with several jazz bands during his life, including the Junior Dixieland Band, Phil Zito’s International Dixieland Express, The Basin Street Six, The Dukes of Dixieland, and Al Hirt just to name a few. He was in Heaven.
Life/Career Continued • 1957: Pete got a big break when Lawrence Welkhost of the nation’s hottest television program of the time asked him to be on the show. • For 2 years Pete was the most famous Jazz musician on television. That is when New Orleans Jazz made its comeback that has never gone away. • Pete never found a song on the radio that he could not imitate on the clarinet and that is what makes him so amazing as an artist and a person.
Jazz Clarinet • Jazz was born in New Orleans, so that was also the beginning of jazz clarinet. • When the popularity of big band declined in the late 1940’s so did the clarinet from its front position in jazz. • Since the 1980’s the jazz clarinet has made a bit of a comeback and is used in a lot of modern and contemporary jazz pieces.
Jazz Clarinet Continued • What makes a clarinet jazzy rather than classical? • The biggest difference is the type of mouthpiece used. A jazz mouthpiece has a larger opening allowing less resistance when you play, therefore having more flexibility of sound. • With a classical clarinet you want a more rich, controlled, beautiful sound so, a closed tip mouthpiece is really what you want. • The closed tip mouthpiece creates a sound that blends with an entire band where the open tip for jazz makes the sound more distinctive.
Shine • Pete Fountains version of shine is amazing and really showcases his wonderful talent and that is why I chose this piece. • I also have a personal connection with Pete Fountain. My grandma had everyone of his records and he was her favorite. • Fountain is one of the most talented jazz clarinetists ever and that is why you should all become more familiar with him and his life.
Sources • Shine Lew Brown / Ford Dabney / Cecil Mack • http://www.vervemusicgroup.com/petefountain • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarinet#Jazz • http://musiced.about.com/od/musicinstruments/ig/Jazz-Musical-Instruments/clarinet.htm • http://www.redbubble.com/people/paintboxcollage/works/9530960-rainbow-clarinets • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Fountain • http://www.welkshow.com/fountain.html • http://www.allmusic.com/album/a-touch-of-class-mw0000179335 • http://jazztimes.com/articles/20111-pete-fountain-the-duke-of-dixieland • http://voices.yahoo.com/how-choose-clarinet-mouthpiece-2465897.html