We discuss the roots of the beloved clarinet player's fame on the My Spilt Milk Podcast before his tribute at Jazz Fest Saturday.
If you’re like me, Pete Fountain was someone you got the impression was a big deal, but it wasn’t clear why. He was a part of Bourbon Street’s heyday, but so were other less revered musicians. It didn’t help that he played traditional jazz, which is the New Orleans sound people under 50 had the least exposure to, so what made him special wasn’t immediately apparent.
Fountain died last year, and Tim Laughlin, Evan Christopher, Wendell Brunious, Band Gibson, and Izzy Harrell will pay tribute to him at Jazz Fest Saturday, April 29 at 4:15 p.m. in the Peoples Health Economy Hall Tent. On this week’s My Spilt Milk Podcast, I put forward the proposition that television and particularly The Lawrence Welk Show and The Tonight Show changed the trajectory of Fountain's career him by presenting him to a national audience. I chew on this and Pete’s memory with David Kunian, music curator for the Louisiana State Museum, who recently curated "A Life Half-Fast," a show on Fountain at The Old U.S. Mint. The show is up now and will be for the foreseeable future.
Thanks as always to producer Justin Gitelman, who turns our conversations over coffee at the PJ’s on Maple Street into a show.