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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.

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