Pete Fountain

Pete Fountain

Original Name Pierre Dewey LaFontaine, Jr.
New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, USA
Death 6 Aug 2016 (aged 86)
New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, USA
Burial New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, USA
Plot Section 214
Memorial ID 167846275 · View Source
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Clarinetist. Born Pierre Dewey LaFontaine Jr., he was a clarinetist whose performances for Presidents and a Pope made him an international ambassador for the music and culture of his hometown of New Orleans. He started in music as a young boy, learning to play the clarinet after his doctor told him that it would help his weak lungs. He took private lessons but also learned to play jazz by playing along with phonograph records of first Benny Goodman and then Irving Fazola. Early on he played with the bands of Monk Hazel and Al Hirt. He founded The Basin Street Six in 1950 with his longtime friend, trumpeter George Girard. After this band broke up four years later, he was hired to join the Lawrence Welk orchestra and became well known for his many solos on Welk's ABC television show. He departed from Welk's orchestra in early 1959 after Fountain tried to "jazz" up the Christmas song "Silver Bells" and Welk refused. He was then hired by Decca Records and went on to make 42 albums with them. He also returned to New Orleans, first playing with The Dukes of Dixieland and then forming his own bands. He became a well known ambassador for jazz performing all around the world. He opened his own club, the French Quarter Inn, in 1960 and it became a popular spot for many performers to appear at. He developed a rivalry with fellow jazz performer Al Hirt, but they later became friends and also made several albums together. He was also a founder and the most prominent member of the Half-Fast Walking Club, one of the best known marching Krewes that paraded in New Orleans on Mardi Gras Day. In 2003 he closed the French Quarter Inn, but he continued performing. He made his last performance in 2010. He passed away at the age of 86.

Bio by: Mr. Badger Hawkeye

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Mr. Badger Hawkeye
  • Added: 6 Aug 2016
  • Find a Grave Memorial 167846275
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Pete Fountain (3 Jul 1930–6 Aug 2016), Find a Grave Memorial no. 167846275, citing Metairie Cemetery and Mausoleum, New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .